Water Protector Civil Lawsuits

Water Protector Civil Lawsuits

We need your information:

  • If you were injured on or near Backwater Bridge on the night of November 20-21, please input your information here. This form is secure and confidential, for the WPLC civil attorneys only.
  • If you were arrested on October 22, 2016, near the DAPL site, please input your information here. This form is secure and confidential, for the WPLC civil attorneys only.
  • If you were injured by law enforcement on another date, in connection with the water protector camps in North Dakota please input your information here. This form is secure and confidential, for the WPLC civil attorneys only.

The November 20 Lawsuit:

Dundon v. Kirchmeier is a federal civil rights class action lawsuit challenging police violence on the night of November 20-21, 2016, at Backwater Bridge near the water protector camps and the site of the DAPL pipeline in North Dakota. The case was filed on November 28, 2016, in federal court, on behalf of all persons who were injured by law enforcement that night.

Plaintiff Vanessa Dundon is a member of the Navajo/Diné Nation who was shot in the eye with a teargas canister that night, suffering a partial vision loss. She and eight other named Plaintiffs represent a class of several hundred water protectors who were injured by high pressure fire hoses, explosive grenades, chemical agents and impact munitions while peacefully protesting and engaging in prayer in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In February, 2017, federal judge Daniel Hovland denied the water protectors’ initial request that he restrict the local sheriff from using water cannons or fire hoses in freezing temperatures, explosives and other dangerous weapons on peaceful crowds. On November 14, 2017, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that order.

Now that the appeal has been decided, the lawsuit will move forward in the U.S. District Court in Bismarck. The water protectors’  legal claims, for monetary compensation for their injuries and the violation of their rights, and for a permanent injunction, are not affected by this appeals court decision. The plaintiffs and their legal team are determined to keep fighting for justice in this case.

Read the water protectors’ lawsuit Complaint.

Read the expert opinion from former Baltimore police chief Tom Frazier, finding the use of force unnecessary and excessive.

Read the legal arguments in the appeal and the ACLU friend of the court brief supporting the water protectors.

October 22 and other cases:

Watch this page or Water Protector Legal Collective on Facebook for updates on this, and other civil litigation that we will be filing to seek redress for the human rights violations against the water protectors.