Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 25, 2017

Morton County Sheriff rejects public information requests on Standing Rock

Photos of police violence inflicted on unarmed water protectors by Rob Wilson Photography, used with permission at Censored News. Photos posted Nov. 1, 2016

Morton County Sheriff rejects Freedom of Information Act requests for video, arrest reports, eviction of Oceti Sakowin, and police body cam footage, says Muck Rock

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Morton County is one of five law enforcement agencies in the United States concealing public records related to protests, reports Muck Rock. In fact Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier is now one of the five worst in the United States when it comes to rejecting Freedom of Information Act requests.

Curtis Waltman of Muck Rock said he sent four protest related FOIA requests to Morton County for video footage, arrest reports, documents relating to the massive emergency management compacts, and reports on the eviction of the Oceti Sakowin camp. The requests rejected include the police officers’ body camera footage.

“All of these have been rejected, with not a single responsive document being handed over. And much of what I asked for not only absolutely exists, it is basic information which should be public knowledge,” Waltman said.

Morton County is refusing to respond to Freedom of Information requests. The other four agencies that are refusing to provide public information are Virginia State Police, Boston Regional Intelligence Center, Chicago Police Department and Austin Police Department.

“Reports coming out of Standing Rock were shocking to many Americans and carried revelations about how law enforcement were conducting themselves in regards to protests. It is a miscarriage of justice and FOIA law to keep these records sealed when there is such a huge amount of public concern.”

Read more at Muck Rock

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