The tolerant left strikes again.
There reached a point when the Dakota Access protest became less about debating the merits of pipeline routes and more about mixing it up with cops.
That’s when the danger spiked for officers and their families. While protesters were fueling worldwide outrage and fundraising over allegations of police brutality, an aggressive cohort of agitators was terrorizing the families of law-enforcement officers with threats of death, rape and arson.
“There were threats made to us, mostly that they were going to come burn down our houses or rape us while our husbands were gone,” said Allison Engelstad, who’s married to Jon Engelstad, a sheriff’s deputy in Morton County, North Dakota.
She had good reason to fear that protesters knew where they lived. The North Dakota State and Local Intelligence Center compiled a 41-page document of social media posts with threats along with photos, names, addresses and contact information for officers involved with the protest.
“Every one of these cops has familys [sic] … Make there [sic] family pay,” read one Facebook post.
A live video feed taken from a January protest on the Backwater Bridge includes the voice of an activist shouting, “We’re going to gang-rape,” “Watch your family,” and “We’re going to kill your daughters, your mothers, your fathers, your grandparents, even you!”
For Ms. Engelstad, the threats hit home the night before Thanksgiving, when her husband called and urged her to leave, saying protesters had threatened to set fire to the houses of law enforcement locked in a late-night standoff at the bridge near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
Ms. Engelstad woke up their three boys and drove across town to her parents’ house. One of the boys brought with him a baseball bat for protection.
“No one was going to hurt his family as long as he had anything to say about it,” she said.