by John Haltiwanger
The police response to ongoing protests against the North Dakota Access Pipeline appears to be getting more and more intense.
Environmental activist Erin Schrode was shot in the back with a rubber bullet while interviewing a protestor on Wednesday, and she captured the moment as it happened.
Schrode posted the video to Facebook on Thursday afternoon.
WARNING: Some viewers might find this disturbing.
Schrode wrote an emotional testimony along with the video, describing how difficult it is for her to watch herself get shot.
"Speechless. I was shot by militarized police WHILE interviewing a peaceful man at Standing Rock live on camera.
I woke up this morning with the thought that I may have that very footage – and broke down in reliving the 40-second horror before my own eyes.
Warning: it’s very very difficult to watch and sent me into quivers and tears, even without the compounding historic trauma that Native Americans face."
Schrode was standing opposite police on the shoreline of the Cantapeta Creek when she was shot.
While she’s clearly very shaken by what happened, she wants to make sure the focus remains on the cause of the protestors. At the same time, she wants to ensure people see the “excessive force” used by police firsthand.
On Facebook, she wrote,
"I do not wish to divert focus away from the bravery of the Water Protectors, from the power of nonviolent direct action, from the people fighting for their lives and for our futures – but I want you to witness the indiscriminate use of excessive force firsthand."
Schrode maintains the protest was peaceful.
“I was standing innocently onshore, not making any aggressive gestures…”
Others, including Josh Fox — the Oscar-nominated documentary director of “Gasland” — confirm her account.
Speaking with Alternet, Fox said,
"We just witnessed a very brutal police repression of a very peaceful protest. A line of about 300 peaceful water protectors standing in river water up to their waists, freezing, were confronted by about 100 police with shotguns, riot gear, mace and pepper spray.
I have never seen anything like it.
It was like witnessing Gandhi’s Salt March, then suddenly I am watching people being maced, and I hear a pop and see that they shot Erin Schrode with a rubber bullet.
How is it possible that from 10 feet away, they are shooting at peaceful protesters, journalists, bystanders, medics?"
The standoff between police and protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline has been heating up recently.
Last week, 141 protestors were arrested.
The situation in North Dakota is tied to both the treatment of Native Americans and climate change.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a $3.7 billion project that would carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has protested the construction of this pipeline, arguing it threatens their land, culture and water supply.
The response from police has reportedly been extremely excessive at times, with some protesters accusing the police of putting them in “dog kennels” and marking them with numbers, according to the Washington Post.
It’s not exactly a secret the US has a long history of oppressing and neglecting indigenous peoples, and this situation has led many to reflect on this.
Meanwhile, it’s also tied to the issue of climate change and the desire to see the US move away from fossil fuels, among other environmental concerns.
The two candidates for the major political parties in the US, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are under fire for not addressing this situation.
Jamie Henn, a spokesperson for 350 Action who is currently in North Dakota, told Elite Daily,
"Clinton and Trump tweeted about the World Series, but they can’t comment on the most iconic fight going on in the country right now?
We know why: Clinton is triangulating and Trump doesn’t care because the pipeline doesn’t have his name on it, although he should ask for it considering the amount of money he has in the companies backing the project."
While Henn was critical of both Trump and Clinton in terms of their responses (or lack thereof) to the pipeline, he believes one candidate is still clearly more concerned about climate change and the environment.
"There’s no doubt which candidate would be better for this fight.
Clinton gives us a fighting chance to stop this project and other major fossil fuel infrastructure.
Trump would build Dakota Access, Keystone XL, and frack every acre he can get his small little hands on."
President Obama has addressed the situation, but many are not satisfied with his response.
Needless to say, it does not appear like this situation, and the issues surrounding it, will be resolved anytime soon.
Read this article on Elite Daily.