According to Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes, many of the over 300 Line 3 protesters they have arrested have been bailed out by people bringing in bags of cash. Aukes said, “Time and time again, a protester makes a phone call and someone shows up with a duffel bag full of cash to bail them out. A bag full of $100 bills; in fact, $52,000 on one occasion. That is a lot of cash to be carrying around in a duffel bag.”
Aukes said that it was clear that the protesters are well funded by someone. He reported that one time, a person came and paid cash to bail out 18 protesters who each had between $5,000 to $10,000 in bail. The Giniw Collective, an Indigenous women-led group involved in the protests, was upset because they claimed Hubbard County “has refused to honor the traditional 10 percent cash bail option, instead demanding $5,000 conditional and $10,000 unconditional bail payments for release.”
Aukes responded to the claims, saying that the conditions have forced him to use tons of extra resources. He said, “The amount spent for the equipment used to extract water protectors from the apparatus they use to lock themselves to pipeline equipment. The overtime spent on your deputies’ time needed to make arrests and to process crime scenes. The extensive jail staff’s time needed to process the nearly 300 people that have been arrested.”
Line 3 protests have been ramping up since early June, where over 250 were arrested during the “Treaty People Gathering.” As was reported on The Minnesota Sun, last weekend, 31 more water protector protesters were arrested after they were blocking a highway and chaining themselves to equipment on an active work site.
In a press release from Sheriff Aukes regarding the unrest surrounding Line 3, Aukes said “Nowhere in the 1855 treaty is language that permits the Chippewa Indians to commit felonies… I do not take race into consideration when I enforce the laws in this county.” Crimes committed by water protectors included hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to construction equipment, assault, and driving illegally on trails. Aukes said, “If these water protectors were truly peaceful and law-abiding as they claimed, we wouldn’t have had to do any of this.”
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network and The College Fix. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]
Photo “Line 3 Protesters” by Northern Lights Task Force MN.