Reservation News

Dakota Access security firm was denied license but kept working anyway

A security firm hired by the wealthy backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline continued to engage in questionable activities in North Dakota despite lacking a license, The Bismarck Tribune reports.

TigerSwan was denied a license in November in part due to “positive criminal history,“ according to the paper. James Patrick Reese, the firm's president and chairman, pushed back but was denied a license again in January, the paper reported.

Yet as far back as September, TigerSwan was engaging in surveillance activities of opponents to the controversial pipeline, the North Dakota Private Investigative and Security Board said in a complaint filed in state court, the paper reported. The firm also has been providing security at construction sites in the state.

TigerSwan and Reese “illegally continued to conduct private investigative and/or private security services in North Dakota following the denial of their application of licensure,” the complaint reads, according to the paper.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department was unaware that TigerSwan wasn't licensed, a spokesperson told the paper. Officers there continued to rely on the firm for “situational awareness” reports on the #NoDAPL movement.

“The whole point of any daily reports we got was just to know where they were doing construction because we knew those would be potential areas for protests and therefore potentially unlawful activity,” the spokesperson told the paper.

Yet the sheriff was aware that at least one other security firm was unlicensed, Democracy Now! reported in October. The firm had unleashed dogs and sprayed mace on Native women and children who were protesting construction activities on and near sacred sites.

A four-part series in The Intercept has focused on the questionable "policing" tactics of TigerSwan.

Read More on the Story:
Dakota Access security firm operated in ND without license, board says (The Grand Forks Herald 6/27)

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