FLOODWOOD – Thirty-two people were arrested Friday, August 20, following a report of numerous intrusions into critical infrastructure west of Floodwood.
According to a press release from the Northern Lights Task Force, deputies from the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Gowan pumping station and encountered 50 people entering and blocking the roadway. Verbal orders were given to people to leave the area and not obstruct traffic. Most have deliberately failed to comply with legal orders, the statement said.
Three people locked themselves in and an extrication team was called in to remove the people from the locks. One person was also elevated 25 feet into the air in a tripod structure.
Due to the number of non-compliant people, additional law enforcement officers were summoned to the scene, the statement said. Staff from the Carlton and Aitkin County Sheriff’s Offices, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Department of Natural Resources and the Fond du Lac Tribal Police Department responded.
The police tried to verbally convince the demonstrators to clear the area. Some did, but many always refused, the task force said. The agents then gave several orders to disperse. Some people cleaned up the area but most refused, according to the police.
Law enforcement then moved in and arrested those who chose to stay, resulting in the arrest of 32 people. All were arrested and convicted on probable grounds of criminal theft, trespassing on critical infrastructure and obstructing legal proceedings. All people were arrested without incident. At no time did law enforcement use chemical munitions or other non-lethal weapons during the civil unrest, according to the press release.
Of the 32 people arrested, 25 indicate a place of birth outside Minnesota and 20 were women.