On December 27, a state appeals court ordered a Louisiana’s sheriff’s department and its sheriff to release information about its officers’ trip to North Dakota during the heated protests against the Dakota Access pipeline in 2016. The extended, Indigenous-led protests near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation drew a highly militarized response from public and private law enforcement. Out-of-state cops, including those from Louisiana’s St. Charles Parish, flooded North Dakota to support it via an interstate agreement.
The latest move reversed a decision by a district court, which denied a public records request made by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a human rights law firm which has worked on behalf of environmental groups in Louisiana, after parish law enforcement spoke out against Dakota Access pipeline opponents and endorsed the Bayou Bridge pipeline, a similar oil pipeline in Louisiana.
“We saw a dangerous blurring of the lines between law enforcement and private corporations at Standing Rock,” Pamela Spees, a senior staff attorney with CCR, stated when first filing suit for the public records in December 2017.
Spees, who was raised in Lake Charles, one of the communities that will be affected by the Bayou Bridge pipeline, is leading a lawsuit by Louisiana environmental groups seeking public records from St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne. She was also an attorney in a lawsuit against Bayou Bridge Pipeline, LLC, which so far has unsuccessfully challenged the company’s right to use eminent domain to confiscate…