WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 2016 — The American Civil Liberties Union and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter today to the Justice Department calling for an investigation of possible constitutional rights violations in the police response to peaceful protestors demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline.
Pending that investigation, the letter also calls for local law enforcement to immediately suspend the use of any federally resourced military weapons and equipment. The letter was signed by Leadership Conference President & CEO Wade Henderson and Vice President Nancy Zirkin, and ACLU Washington Director Karin Johanson.
“The Department of Justice needs to immediately end the militarized and brutal response to protestors demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock,” said ACLU Washington Director Karin Johanson. “The use of armored vehicles, beanbag bullets, pepper spray, and police in riot gear against protesters give us great reason to believe that the constitutional rights of those peacefully assembled to protest the Dakota Access pipeline have been violated by police. Even more disturbing is the possibility that these constitutional violations are occurring with weapons and resources from the federal government.”
The letter, sent to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Office of Justice Programs, highlights the militarized response by law enforcement to peacefully assembled individuals and other instances in possible violation of the First, Fourth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution.
The full text of the letter is below and can be found here: