TUCSON – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement today in response to reports that tear gas, freezing water and rubber bullets were used Sunday night against a crowd of approximately 400 Water Protectors and demonstrators at the Dakota Access Pipeline. The altercation injured more than 150 demonstrators and one law enforcement officer.
“The escalating violence targeting peaceful demonstrators at the Dakota Access Pipeline is utterly unacceptable,” Rep. Grijalva said. “By attacking with the kind of force intended to quell riots, local and state law enforcement are acting like a hired security firm for a private corporation whose pipeline threatens Native American burial and sacred sites, and clean drinking water. Every American watching these events unfold should rightly be wondering: whose side are they on?
“As a nation, we deserve better than what is happening at Standing Rock right now,” Grijalva continued. “I will continue to urge President Obama to ensure the safety and Constitutional rights of the Water Protectors in North Dakota, and of every American who chooses to exercise their Constitutionally protected right to assemble peacefully.”
Grijalva’s remarks come just days after he and 22 of his Congressional colleagues wrote to President Obama outlining actions the federal government can take to immediately de-escalate growing tensions and protect the safety, rights and civil liberties of water protectors. Among many measure, the letter called for: denial of the easement, which the Army Corps of Engineers must issue for drilling to commence; the deployment of observers from the Department of Justice; withdrawal of National Guard and other law enforcement personnel deployed around the camp.