The National Sheriffs’ Association sharply criticized President Obama’s comments on the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying that his decision to let “things play out” puts lives at risk. In a statement, NSA Executive Director and CEO Jonathan Thompson said the following:
Law enforcement is in the middle of a powder keg in Morton County, N.D., and last night President Obama said: “We’re going to let it play out for several more weeks…”
Law enforcement officers are protecting private property and the right to protest in Morton County. There have been 415 arrests in connection with the riots. Just 8 percent of are from North Dakota, while the other 92 percent are from 43 other states stretching from Vermont to Florida to California. This includes militant agitators with long histories of violence, including domestic assault, child abuse and burglary.
Protesters have allegedly fired a weapon and thrown Molotov Cocktails at law enforcement and President Obama is “going to let it play out for several more weeks.”
Mr. President, this is not a game. As we saw in Iowa this morning, where two police officers were ambushed and murdered, law enforcement is real life and, all too often, real death.
Sheriffs, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven, Rep. Kevin Cramer, Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley have repeatedly called for assistance from the federal government.
Letting it play out, as the President has recommended, puts precious lives – protesters, workers, tribal members, ranchers, farmers and law enforcement – in danger. Unless the President can provide us with assistance and support, the President should be held partially responsible for the fear, terror, and damage caused by violent, militant out-of-state agitators.
Law enforcement officers are on the frontlines of this dangerous standoff and know firsthand that protests that protests have not been “peaceful and prayerful.” These brave men and women have put their lives on the line in the interest of upholding the rule of law and protecting law-abiding citizens. The President should be thanking these civil servants and hanging them out to dry.