Interview with Standing Rock Youth on November 20 Police Attack:

"They emptied two canisters of mace on me and counting"

November 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


On November 20, North Dakota police attacked peaceful protesters at Standing Rock with rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tear gas, and continuous blasts from water cannons in 25-degree weather. There are reports of serious injuries. The protesters were attempting to clear the bridge so that emergency vehicles and people could get through. Those lands are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who, according to an article in the LA Times, called in the police attack.

After this attack Revcoms Travis Morales and Riley Ruiz, who are reporting from Standing Rock, interviewed one of the Standing Rock youth who had been injured in the police assault and had to go to the hospital.

Revcom: So what happened at the hospital?

Youth: All right, well I got there, they took me into one of the rooms, could still barely see, still barely breathe, could still barely stand, still freezing. They took my temperature, charged me about $600 and told me to leave. That wasn’t even for the ambulance ride—the ambulance ride, they said was free.

When I got out into the lobby, there was a whole bunch of untreated people: open wounds, like split open fingers, a man got hit in the head with a percussion grenade... He didn’t receive any treatment. They put a hoodie over his head and wheeled him out. One of the other people that was in there told me that they [some hospital personnel] were telling the rest of them that they didn’t support us at all, [but] they’re still going to treat us like any other patient—which they didn’t do... Yeah, they pretty much put us out on the street. I didn’t have any shoes, I didn’t have any clothes for the winter, at all. They’re perfectly prepared to let me sleep outside at night.

Revcom: And this was a night that was below freezing.

Youth: Yes.

Revcom: And your clothes were soaked.

Youth: And I already had hypothermia.

Revcom: Why don’t you repeat what they did to you on the bridge, as you were sitting down.

Youth: I sat down, they emptied two canisters of mace on me and counting. And then they started firing at our feet, walked up to me at point-blank range and held a shotgun and an assault rifle in our faces (there were two of us sitting down at the time). Then a man came and sat down in front of us... Eventually I couldn’t walk any more—they still kept macing us. A medic came down and dragged me off the field.

Revcom: What were they shooting people with? What were they shooting at people’s feet?

Youth: They were shooting cans, they were shooting small triangular rubber bullets, and they were shooting the large foam rubber bullets, all of them.

Revcom: Is there anything else?

Youth: Well, the police lied about using tear gas. I counted at least 15 cans of tear gas just where I was at, that’s what I was exposed to. They said they didn’t use a firehose, but that’s obviously not true.

Revcom: They admitted in the Bismarck Tribune this morning that they were using fire hoses, that they brought the fire hoses to supposedly put out fires, and then turned them on the crowd.

Youth: There was no fires when they brought them out. When they brought them out, there wasn’t a single fire at all. They mounted the firehose on a police vehicle and started spraying us. So we built a small barricade to try and protect ourselves from the water.

Revcom: And then once people were frozen, after the police had done all this, including starting fires, then the people set up safe fires, small fires to stay warm, right?

Youth: Correct. We were trying to start small fires. The police kept putting them out and soaking the people who were trying to start ‘em. Those people were generally already almost hypothermic. Then, after we were all soaking, they started shooting us.

Revcom: And including when people were trying to put out the fires started by police, right?

Youth: Correct.

Revcom: What did you say earlier about a woman being shot in the head?

Youth: There was a woman who was putting blankets around people who were hypothermic and sitting around the fire; she was trying to treat them. They shot her in the head, she fell back and hit her head on the concrete.

Revcom: Do you know how she turned out?

Youth: The last I saw, they were wheeling her into surgery.

Revcom: Jesus Christ!

Youth: Also, I’m pretty sure the police were spiking the mace with something, because 24 hours after exposure to it I started hyperventilating and couldn’t breathe. Everything started burning again. I started to pass out, couldn’t move. And allegedly, according to the emergency medical technician that they had come check me out—that has been happening to people all day yesterday.

Revcom: What else? Is there anything else you want to say? Is this what you wanted to tell me when you saw me in the lobby?

Youth: Yeah.

Revcom: This is important.



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