Reporters threatened at DAPL protest camp

Published: Oct. 19, 2016 at 5:38 PM CDT
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More violent behavior from Dakota Access Pipeline protesters is causing great concern among Morton County authorities.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier says several journalists were attacked at a protest camp Tuesday, and, initially, not allowed to leave. After calling 911 they were able to exit safely and tell their story.

Law enforcement is using video the journalists recorded of the event at the camp. Officers say the situation escalated into a very threatening and terrifying experience for the reporters.

"We're in danger, yes. We're in danger, and we are surrounded," a journalist can be heard saying during the 911 call.

Tensions were high Tuesday morning for three journalists at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp. What looked like harmless interviews turned ugly fast.

"I can't tell you the number, but there was a lot of bandannas, a lot of people that were really riled up, and I had twelve officers there," says Lt. Glen Ternes, Bismarck Police Department.

Authorities say before the journalists tried to exit the camp, one reporter says a person calming to be a camp security official grabbed the reporter's microphone and dragged him. Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier says they're investigating the incident and advising camp leaders to be aware of who is in the camps.

"Individuals who want to legally and peacefully protest should be especially concerned about some of the safety inside these camps and, if there are issues, to make sure those get reported to the proper authorities," says Kirchmeier.

The reporters did not have press passes, which upset protesters at the camp, say Morton County authorities. The journalists are independent but do not wish for them or their agency to be identified.

Kirchmeier says his top priority remains the same: maintaining safety for everyone. At Wednesday's press conference Sheriff Kirchmeier also talked about the 30 missing cattle from the Cannon Ball area. He said at this point they are still missing.

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