Guards Accused of Unleashing Dogs, Pepper-Spraying Oil Pipeline Protesters

protests turn violent

BISMARCK, N.D. (CBS NEWS) – A protest of a four-state, $3.8 billion oil pipeline turned violent after tribal officials say construction crews destroyed American Indian burial and cultural sites on private land in southern North Dakota.

Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey said four private security guards and two guard dogs were injured after several hundred protesters confronted construction crews Saturday afternoon at the DakotaAccess pipeline construction site just outside the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. One of the security officers was taken to a Bismarck hospital for undisclosed injuries. The two guard dogs were taken to a Bismarck veterinary clinic, Preskey said.

Tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear said protesters reported that six people had been bitten by security dogs, including a young child. At least 30 people were pepper-sprayed, he said. Preskey said law enforcement authorities had no reports of protesters being injured.

There were no law enforcement personnel at the site when the incident occurred, Preskey said. The crowd dispersed when officers arrived and no one was arrested, she said.

Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which is developing the pipeline, said the protesters broke through a fence and “attacked” the workers.

The incident occurred within half a mile of an encampment where hundreds of people have gathered to join the tribe’s protest of the oil pipeline, which is slated to cross the Dakotas and Iowa to Illinois.

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