Last week Marlo Gray related his encounter with police in Mobridge South Dakota to me.
He and a friend had pulled into a parking lot to check their GPS directions when they were confronted and searched by local police. Marlo had corn pollen on him which is commonly used in the religious practices of the Dine (Navajo).
The officers did a field test on the pollen and concluded it was in fact meth. Upon being taken to jail Marlo found the place filled with water protectors from camp that had been arrested in a similar fashion.
Yesterday my friend Tosha Luger related an encounter she had 2 days ago with North Dakota police. She was praying out on the frozen ice of the Cannon Ball river near Turtle Island when she was confronted by a group of police officers on snow mobiles.
She was also arrested and searched. On her person she had a small bag of rice a Tibetan monk who had visited the camp had given her.
The officers similarly tested the rice and also concluded it was meth. That's two water protectors that I personally know of who've had religious objects they carry used as a way to lay false drug charges against them.
Given that many natives carry similar objects on them this could be the beginning of a disturbing trend.
Another disturbing trend is the amount of free equipment the Morton County Sheriff's department is getting directly from Energy Transfer the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Scores of ATVs and snow mobiles, along with a plethora of other vehicles has simply been gifted to the department from Energy Transfer.
This seriously calls into question Morton County's ability to fairly enforce the law in this situation. Law enforcement here has also been working hand and glove with DAPL private security forces who often act outside of the law to achieve their objectives.
Despite what they proclaimed in their recent letter to president Obama, Morton County Sheriff department has a very spotty recorded of upholding the rule of law when it comes to illegal corporate activities or when it comes to upholding the constitutional protections of this nations citizens.