Rubber bullet strikes camerawoman at Dakota pipeline protest

The blow from a rubber bullet striking a pipeline activist was caught on camera Wednesday in video that was nearing a million views on Facebook.

Erin Schrode, 25, a Califonia activist, was interviewing a Dakota Access Pipeline protester at Standing Rock when she felt the pain.

"I felt an astonishing blow to my lower back," Schrode said Friday. "I whipped my head around and there were militarized police."

Schrode caught a brief moment of the aftermath on camera and posted the video to Facebook. The post had since been viewed more than 900,000 times.

Schrode went to the protest with filmmaker Josh Fox earlier this week to both stand with and document the ongoing protest of the pipeline. Those protesting say the planned pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation threatens the water supply of millions.

The sheriff's department had been in a standoff with protesters Wednesday afternoon where Cantapeta Creek meets the Cannonball River, about 30 miles southeast of Bismarck, N.D.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is considered the owner of the land, told the Morton County Sheriff's Department to remove anyone who trespassed on land north of the main camp area. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe were trying to cross the water into the land to hold a prayer circle.

Schrode was in the main line across the river. She said she didn't know what provoked the shot. No one around her was violent, and there was no verbal warning from police, she said.

The rubber bullet that hit her was the only one fired on the protesters' side of the creek. A few other shots were fired on the other side, she said. Any injuries from rubber bullets couldn't be confirmed.

"I'm outraged...but this is nothing compared to the ongoing traumas of these people," she said.

Protesters at the site are calling themselves water protectors. People have stepped in to help with medical services and other basic needs, Schrode said.

"This is not about one pipeline or one Native American reservation," Schrode said. "This is about human rights violations."

Schrode is an activist and writes for several media outlets. She is also running for Congress in California.

The Morton County Sheriff's Department could not be reached for comment on the incident. The office has said that it is using "non-lethal" bullets to disperse protesters.

The sheriff's office said Friday afternoon that 416 arrests have been made in Morton County since Aug. 10.


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