Nashville Photographer David Robert Farmerie Crosses the Line
It was just after twelve noon on October 27, 2016, when the North Dakota State Police and the Morton County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at the Front Line on ND Highway 1806, less than one mile north of the North Camp of Standing Rock, also known as the Winter Camp. It was the North Camp that the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers had given orders to clear of all inhabitants. The police officers, standing shoulder to shoulder, approached from the north, the west, and the east, leaving only the south open for protesters to retreat back to the South Camp, better known as Oceti Sakowin (which translates to Seven Council Fires). Within minutes, flames and thick black smoke billowed into the air, from the burning tires, wooden palettes, and any other debris that would burn, including a car. This fire was set by protesters to block passage of the Front Line.
Around 1:09 p.m. a division occurred between the majority of protesters, whose desire was to remain peaceful, and a smaller faction who felt that passivity would be ineffective. With that, the aggressive faction broke ranks, most of them heading for the west barrier. In this image one of the protesters began confronting police officers holding that line. In his second attempt to provoke a response from police, he stood face to face with this State Police officer for nearly 15 minutes, shouting accusations and insults. To a passing African American trooper, the protester shouted racial slurs. As this confrontation played out, the protester repeatedly flailed his arms in front of the officer’s face, never making contact. Eventually the officer just turned his head to his right in an attempt to further diffuse the young man, which eventually worked. —David Robert Farmerie