An arrest warrant has reportedly been issued for Jill Stein, the 2016 presidential candidate for the Green Party. Her crime? She has been charged with criminal mischief and trespass (both misdemeanors) for participating in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Along with Ms. Stein, her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, is also facing arrest in North Dakota.
Reportedly, the pair spray-painted a bit of a campaign endorsement on a piece of heavy equipment that is being used to construct the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline; namely one bulldozer. Jill Stein allegedly painted the words “I approve this message” on the bulldozer, the very one the presidential candidate says was used to desecrate Native American burial grounds and other sacred sites near the pipeline on Saturday, reports the Wall Street Journal.
According to Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, the arrest warrant issued for Jill Stein, which was issued on Tuesday, came after he saw a video that captured Ms. Stein in the act of vandalizing the equipment.
While a North Dakota judge seems to be taking Jill Stein’s alleged criminal behavior pretty seriously, the candidate herself doesn’t seem to believe she did anything worth having a warrant issued in her name. According to Ms. Stein, the “real vandalism” at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline is taking place at the hands of construction workers and hired private security personnel. Folks that Jill Stein says are doing much worse than just building a detested pipeline through sacred Native American lands.
“I hope the North Dakota authorities press charges against the real vandalism taking place at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation: the bulldozing of sacred burial sites and the unleashing of vicious attack dogs.”
According to Jill Stein, as well as numerous media outlets, the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline turned violent over the weekend, and that violence wasn’t coming from the hundreds of protesters. Just days before the arrest warrant was issued for Jill Stein, on September 3, construction workers destroyed (some say deliberately) sacred Native American sites near the pipeline. They accomplished their destruction using their heavy equipment.
What followed the blatant desecration of sacred sites was a clash between largely Native American protesters and construction workers. According to accounts of the events, a large number of Native American protesters went to the construction site to confront the workers that had destroyed the sites. At that time, and as Jill Stein alluded to when she responded to the news of her arrest warrant, private contractors allegedly sicced attack dogs on protesters and doused them with pepper spray.
According to most accounts, Saturday’s destruction of the sites in question came just one day after the Native American protesters (mostly members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) filed documents in federal court that listed a multitude of sacred sites in the path of the pipeline.
Jill Stein, Green Party presidential nominee and long-time fighter for the environment, showed up in North Dakota just a few short days after the protests turned violent. And, as the arrest warrant now issued for her indicates, Stein doesn’t seem to think much of a big energy corporation destroying the heritage and clean water of a Native American tribe.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department seems to care as little about protecting Jill Stein’s good name as Stein cares about a North Dakota arrest warrant. The local sheriff blasted Jill Stein on the department’s Facebook page, sharing the iconic still photo of Ms. Stein spray-painting her campaign tag on a bulldozer and a brief message calling her out for vandalism.
“Presidential Candidate for the Green Party, Dr. Jill Stein is pictured here vandalizing Dakota Access Pipeline equipment in Morton County.”
Since Saturday’s violent clashes, North Dakota’s governor has activated the National Guard to support local police in any subsequent clashes with the pipeline protesters.
According to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page, the police presence in the area will increase as a result of Jill Stein, her arrest warrant, and the continuing (and seemingly escalating) Dakota Access pipeline protest.
[Photo by John Minchillo/AP Photo]