Of­fi­cials shoot at drone dur­ing week­end of pipe­line protests

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

MANDAN, N.D. >> Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials fired at an un­manned air­craft and a group of Dakota Ac­cess pipe­line op­po­nents twice blocked a North Dakota state high­way Sun­day, cap­ping a week­end of protests.

A he­li­copter help­ing mon­i­tor a protest against the four-state pipe­line Sun­day morn­ing was ap­proached by a drone in a “threat­en­ing man­ner,” the Mor­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice said in a state­ment. An of­fi­cer in the he­li­copter told law en­force­ment on the ground that the pi­lot and pas­sen­gers were “in fear of their lives” and that the un­manned air­craft was go­ing af­ter them. Less-than-lethal am­mu­ni­tion dam­aged the drone, which was then landed by its op­er­a­tor.

Mor­ton County Sher­iff Kyle Kirch­meier said drones fly­ing near protests and near where hun­dreds have been camp­ing out in protest of the $3.8 bil­lion pipe­line are not be­ing op­er­ated ac­cord­ing to fed­eral reg­u­la­tions and their in­ves­ti­ga­tions will be sent to the states at­tor­ney’s of­fice for pos­si­ble charges. Two peo­ple op­er­at­ing drones dur­ing the protests have al­ready been charged.

Also Sun­day, pro­test­ers put up two road­blocks on State High­way 1806. The first, which went up about 2 p.m., was made of barbed wire, cars and later hay bales, tree stumps and logs. Law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties spoke with pro­test­ers, and the block­ade came down be­fore 5 p.m. A sec­ond road­block, made with ve­hi­cles, campers and a state De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion mes­sage board was still up as of 5:30 p.m. Sun­day, the sher­iff’s of­fice said in a state­ment.

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