(Dakota Access Pipeline LLC contractor and U.S. Army veteran Kyle Thompson (right) shakes hands with former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2012. Kyle Thompson Facebook page)
APTN National News
A security contractor working for the company behind a controversial pipeline project facing fierce resistance from Native Americans in North Dakota denies he fired any shots from his assault rifle before he was detained by Bureau of Indian Affairs agents last Thursday.
Kyle Thompson, a U.S. Army veteran and security contractor working for the Dakota Access Pipeline LLC (DAPL), said in a Facebook post he was simply doing his job to photograph burning company equipment when he was confronted by demonstrators.
APTN video captured a confrontation between an armed Thompson and demonstrators in shallow water shortly before he was detained by Bureau of Indian Affairs agents (BIA). The agents handed him over to the FBI who transported him into the custody of state authorities. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said Monday he was released without charges. The incident occurred while National Guard and state troopers from several states moved against Native American-led demonstrators.
A BIA spokesperson said the agents went to the scene in response to a report that shots had been fired. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a statement saying Thompson fired shots from his rifle.
In his Facebook post, Thompson claims he never fired any shots from his assault rifle and that the FBI agents who transported him could attest to that.
“That rifle hasn’t had a single round pass through the barrel in well over three months, the FBI can confirm,” said Thompson, in the Facebook post.
He claims his 2500 Chevy truck, which is owned by DAPL, “was disabled and over 300 protestors were rapidly approaching my location, a few had knives and were dead set on using those knives.”
Thompson said one of the demonstrators fired a flare at him.
“I drew out my rifle after my vehicle was disabled,” he stated. “I slowly retreated into the water so they couldn’t surround me and overtake my rifle to use against me.”
Thompson challenged anybody with evidence to the contrary to come forward.
“I’m not here to defend myself or others who stood their ground on the opposite side,” said Thompson in his Facebook message, posted on Sunday. “I’m just here to state facts and if anyone has any evidence that negates any of them, I urge you to come forth and present yourself in a professional manner and we will address them accordingly.”
According to his Facebook page, Thompson is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2012 and Iraq in 2006 and 2007.
According to an article in North Dakota’s Bismarck-Tribune from December 2007, Thompson served with the U.S. Army 1-89th, 2nd Bridge in Iraq. The article said Thompson is Native American and was given the name “War Eagle.” He was greeted with ceremony when he arrived back home from the war.