A Standing Rock Protester Describes the Latest Fight With Police

November 21st 2016

Clashes between police and people protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline once again took a violent turn over the weekend. More than 150 protesters and one law enforcement officer were injured, according to NBC News, with conflicting accounts of what transpired.

The ongoing protests are in support of the Standing Rock Sioux's opposition to the DAPL, which the tribe says could contaminate the main source of drinking water on their reservation in North Dakota. 

On Sunday night and into early Monday morning, police reportedly used tear gas, rubber bullets, and water hoses on a group of 400 protesters. The temperatures were below freezing. 

The Morton County Sheriff's Department claimed officers responded to an "ongoing riot at Backwater Bridge," which is north of the protest camp. 

In a Monday press conference, the department defended law enforcement's use of water hoses on protesters, with a department official claiming officers on the scene decided to use the water hoses because the protesters were "very aggressive."  The department did not respond to a request for comment.

However, protesters have a different story. Over a series of phone calls, texts, and emails, ATTN: communicated with 30-year-old protester Kat Bagley on Monday about what she saw during the conflict with police. Bagley has been in the protest area for three days now. ATTN: has not been able to confirm all of the the details, but here is her account of what happened at Standing Rock protest camps. 

ATTN: Can you walk us through the clash with police last night and when the water hoses were used? 

Bagley: So there's a bridge just north of camp that goes over the river. DAPL made a barrier and blocked the bridge access over the river where they are trying to drill. Someone came and used an 18 wheeler to hook onto the barrier and ripped it apart so people could get through. The cops were waiting. They are trying to suppress what's happening here. Many people fell in the river and became hypothermic. I was trying to document for proof and they hacked my phone. The cops were laughing as they sprayed. I didn't get sprayed. The people who moved the burnt trucks [barrier on the bridge] were not authorized by the elders so I don't know if they are from camp but they claimed to be.

ATTN: Was there tear gas or chemical gas as well? Did you experience that? 

Bagley: Yes both. I was back in line with [the] media, but I got it second-hand in my eyes from treating people. They used tear gas and pepper bombs, and concussion grenades and sound cannons. 

ATTN: Is everyone ok?

Bagley: My friend was shot in the side of the head by a rubber bullet. They are aiming for heads. She has a concussion and was hypothermic from being sprayed with fire hose water in below freezing temperatures. She's resting and okay.

ATTN: Are you there with an organization? 

Bagley: I came up independently but I am in contact and have friends in multiple tribes, including Pine Ridge. I am staying at "California Camp."

ATTN: Are you afraid to stay there? 

Bagley: I don't have a choice. I have to be here as a healer. 

ATTN: Did protesters have weapons? 

Bagley: We are a peaceful water protector camp, unarmed. The sheriff is lying and posting that we had weapons last night, and using that to come in and take the camp. 

ATTN: Why do you think the police are using this kind of force? 

Bagley: Money and oil over human life and water. This pipeline was slated to run near Bismarck and the white people there said no. This is sacred and protected land by treaty and they weren't given a say. The peaceful protesting will continue despite the police brutality. 

RELATED: A Woman's Post About Getting Shot at Standing Rock

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