Environmental Justice

Journalist at #NoDAPL Protest Site Attacked by Police, Suffers Broken Hip

February 22, 2017
By Tallon Kennedy

Today is the deadline that water protectors were given to evacuate the Oceti Sakowin Camp.

Earlier this afternoon, journalist Eric Poemz was recording the confrontation between police in riot gear and the water protectors at the site. At around the 2:56:00 minute mark on his Facebook live video, Poemz could be heard trying to calmly reason with the police.

“All we’re trying to do is protect the water,” Poemz said. “You have a heart. You have a soul. Why don’t you be honorable and set down your badge right now in front of 6100 people?”

At which point, the police started running towards the water protectors. Poemz’s video went black as the sounds of the police attacking him, and his screaming, could be heard. “My hip! My hip! You broke my hip!” Poemz exclaimed.

“How many times do we have to tell you? We gave you a deadline, and you violated it,” the attacking policeman could be heard telling Poemz beneath the screams of his pain.

As Poemz was being arrested, he could be heard screaming and telling the police officer that his hip is broken, to which the police officer replied, “You’ve got two of them? What’s wrong?”

“Stop playing games. We’re not here to hurt you,” one of the policeman said near the end of the video. “Just cut your stupid shit… You’ll be treated with respect, so why don’t you start treating us with some respect? Knock it off.”

This is just another instance of a civil and peaceful protest turned violent by the actions of the police, and it is another troubling instance of a journalist being violently attacked and arrested by law enforcement. Eric Poemz’s video can still currently be viewed at his Facebook page.

At the time of writing, the water protectors and the police are still at a stand-off.

Tallon Kennedy is poet and an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh studying writing, literature, and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies.

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