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 lawsuit challenging police violence on the night of November 20-21, 2016, at Backwater Bridge, near the Oceti Sakowin camp and the site of the DAPL pipeline in North Dakota. The case was filed on November 28, 2016, in federal court, as a class action lawsuit 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. The Plaintiffs’ legal team includes notable civil rights lawyers from around the country who are cooperating with WPLC to pursue the case. The Indigenous Peoples’ Law & Policy Program at the University of Arizona is working with WPLC and the Plaintiffs’ legal team to bring the human rights and treaty violations to the attention of international bodies.
In February, 2017, United States District Court 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. The lawsuit continues to move forward and asks for monetary compensation for the injuries and the violation of the water protectors’ constitutional rights, as well as for changes in local law enforcement practices. The Defendants — Morton County, its Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, and other local law enforcement — are asking the court to dismiss the case, and the Plaintiffs’ legal team is currently fighting that motion to dismiss.
In April, 2018, we submitted a report to the United Nations on the human rights violations against the water protectors. The report was presented to the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and to other UN officials during the 17th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), and will inform the Special Rapporteur’s presentation to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2018.
- Water protectors’ April 27, 2018, Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss.
- April, 2018, report to the UN: “Indigenous Resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline: Criminalization of Dissent and Suppression of Protest“.
- Lawsuit First Amended Complaint.
- Former Police Chief Tom Frazier’s expert opinion finding unnecessary and excessive force.
- Legal arguments presented to the 8th Circuit in the interlocutory appeal.
October 22 and other cases:
Watch this page or the Water Protector Legal Collective website 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.