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Judge dismisses DAPL lawsuit that claimed excessive force

December 15, 2020 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out the lawsuit of an Arizona man who claimed North Dakota law enforcement officers injured him and violated his civil rights during the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor said in a Dec. 10 order that 24-year-old Marcus Mitchell placed himself where he knew less-than-lethal weapons were being used and failed to show that law enforcement officers treated him any differently than anyone else at the protests.

The Bismarck Tribune reports Mitchell claimed he was subjected to “excessive violence” by officers who fired beanbag rounds in January 2017 at unarmed protesters, including himself. One round struck him in the left eye, resulting in long-term vision, hearing and smell problems and chronic pain, he alleged. He sought unspecified money damages.

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Thousands of opponents gathered in southern North Dakota in 2016 and early 2017, camping on federal land and often clashing with police. Hundreds were arrested over six months.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposed the pipeline over fears it would harm cultural sites and the tribe’s Missouri River water supply. Those arguments that were rejected by the company and the state.