The Green Party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates were charged for pulling a stunt usually committed by juvenile delinquents — they spray painted graffiti on a bulldozer.
As a result, the Morton County Sheriff Department in North Dakota issued arrest warrants against Jill Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka.
Newsy Newslook video via USA Today
They’ve each been charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief — both misdemeanors.
The incident happened Tuesday when both Stein and Baraka participated in a protest staged by environmentalists and a local Native American tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Evidence includes a photo of Stein spray-painting the word the word “decolonization” as part of the sentence “we need decolonization.”
Her campaign office admits to the act, and Stein remains unapologetic. The Wa;; Street Journal reported:
A spokeswoman for Ms. Stein’s campaign said she spray-painted the message onto a bulldozer that she alleged had been used days earlier to damage ancestral gravesites of the Sioux tribe. She also said pipeline personnel at that time released dogs on protesters.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been protesting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which would carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. A federal judge is expected to rule this week on whether to issue a temporary injunction the tribe has sought to halt construction.
“I hope the North Dakota authorities press charges against the real vandalism taking place at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation: the bulldozing of sacred burial sites and the unleashing of vicious attack dogs,” she said in a statement, according to The Journal. “Our campaign supports the courageous Indigenous leaders who are taking a stand to protect future generations from the deadly greed of the fossil fuel industry.”
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier told reporters that when some protesters appeared in masks and carrying hatchets, he ordered his deputies to exit the scene,
“Officers were pulled back from the area because it was determined that it was unsafe for them to go into the situation,” he said. “Everything you’ve been hearing on social media that this has been peaceful and they wanted to do it by prayer—this is not the way to do this.”
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