(A still from APTN video of the confrontation between demonstrators and an armed man who was driving a truck owned by Dakota Access LLC last Thursday)
APTN National News
A man detained by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) agents last Thursday following reports of shots fired during the height of police action against Native American-led demonstrations in North Dakota was released without charges following the incident, according to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.
The man, who was driving a truck owned by the Dakota Access LLC (DAPL), the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project, was detained by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) agents after he was run off the road and then confronted by demonstrators. Video images captured by APTN National News showed the man was carrying an assault rifle. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said the man fired several shots and that he was disguised as a demonstrator.
A Morton County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson told APTN on Monday no one was charged or is in custody in relation to the incident. The Sheriff’s department said the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI), which is under the state’s Attorney General’s Office, is the lead on the investigation.
“I can tell you no one has been charged or are in custody for the incident,” said Donnell Hushka, a spokesperson for the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.
An official with the BCI said the bureau could not confirm or deny involvement in the case.
There was some initial agency confusion following the incident as to who was handling the case.
BIA spokesperson Nedra Darling said BIA agents received reports of gunshots fired and then intervened because state and county authorities were too busy to deal with the situation as they were moving against demonstrators who had been launching rolling blockades on North Dakota state Hwy 1806 in efforts to stop construction of the DAPL pipeline.
Darling said the BIA turned the man over to the FBI who then turned him over to the BCI.
The FBI initially denied any involvement in the case. An FBI spokesperson then reversed position and said BIA agents did turn over the man to the FBI who then transported him to “state authorities.”
Insurance documents seized from the truck showed the vehicle was owned by Dakota Access Pipeline Access LLC.
The insurance documents showed that Knightsbridge Risk Management, a private security firm with a Springfield, OH, address, was insured to operate the truck.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a statement saying the individual broke through a barricade and was run off the road near the Oceti Sakowin camp, which was dismantled by state troopers from seven states and National Guard troops on Thursday. The statement said the man fired rounds from an assault rifle he carried.
Dallas Goldtooth, with the Indigenous Environmental Network, told Democracy Now on Monday it’s believe the individual meant to infiltrate demonstrators.
A security badge found in the truck identified the man as Kyle Thompson.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said 141 people were arrested following last Thursday’s police action against the demonstrators and their camp.