This Saturday in North Dakota, security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline project attacked Native American protesters with dogs and pepper spray.
After video of the incident taken by Democracy Now! went viral, many compared the images to the violent crackdown on protesters during the Civil Rights era.
This Tuesday, DN interviewed Jonni Joyce, who is an expert in law enforcement canine units with over 25 years of experience. In the interview, Joyce claimed that the dogs in the video didn’t have the training that law enforcement canines are required to have before engaging with humans in the field.
“What the dogs were not trained to do was to be professional security dogs or professional law enforcement dogs,” Joyce said. “What I witnessed on the video was absolutely horrific and a chaotic scene. It appeared that the handlers were not trained properly in order to manage a dog that has been trained in some type of controlled aggression. And basically, what it looked like was a bunch of alligators at the end of leashes being put on the Native Americans there that are protesting. It absolutely was an egregious use of canines.”
DN host Amy Goodman then relayed a story about how she confronted a security guard about the dog attacks, to which the security guard ignored her and carried on.
“Yeah, in that particular part of the video, the female handler with the black dog moved away from you,” Joyce responded. “And this is of particular concern to me, in reference to this, because she moved down the line. And then there were about six protesters that were, oh, approximately 15 feet in front of her, and without the protesters moving forward or making any aggressive act towards her, she pushed her dog into the crowd. And you can see on the video that the dog had enough sense not to go in the crowd. The dog actually backed up. And then she corrected the dog and pulled the dog into the crowd. And this is especially concerning, in reference to this application of the use of force, and it certainly provides evidence that these people were improperly trained.”
Watch the interview below (the segment starts at about 50:00 on the video):