- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 3, 2016

A security contractor with the Dakota Access Pipeline will not face charges after he was detained for pulling a rifle on a mob of protesters near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, officials announced Tuesday.

“While law enforcement detained an individual, it has been determined that person is the victim in the case,” the Morton County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

Kyle Thompson, who works for Leighton Security, was confronted on Oct. 27 by a group of angry protesters when he was taking photos of damaged pipeline equipment near the construction entrance, Guns.com reported.

According to the release, Mr. Thompson knew the potential dangers of being spotted by the protesters, so he made sure to disguise himself as he did his job. Still, protesters pursued Mr. Thompson and heckled him until he left.

“While leaving the area and driving south on Highway 1806, the individual was deliberately hit by another vehicle,” the sheriff’s department said. “The victim’s vehicle was forced through a fence and got stuck. The victim saw five individuals coming at his truck and could see large knives in their possession. The man grabbed a rifle to defend himself, he retreated toward the Cannonball River and was pursued. During this time, the victim’s vehicle was also set on fire.”

One protester also fired a flare gun in Mr. Thompson’s direction, the release stated. No shots were identified as coming from Mr. Thompson‘s weapon.

“No charges will be filed against this man as he was using the weapon to protect himself,” the sheriff’s department said.

Mr. Thompson described the chaotic ordeal in a Facebook post on Sunday.

“As most of you know, three days ago on October 27th, I was in a situation in which myself and others were faced with the difficult decision to take another’s life or not,” he wrote. “A decision in which most people are never faced with and I hope never will, a decision in which changes a person’s outlook on life forever.

“I drew out my rifle after my vehicle was disabled and over 300 protesters were rapidly approaching my location, a few had knives and were dead set on using those knives,” he wrote. “I slowly retreated into the water so they couldn’t surround me and overtake my rifle to use against me.”

A video of the incident showed Mr. Thompson backing into the shallow river as others surrounded him and yelled at him to drop the gun. A woman taking the video can be heard instructing protesters to take Mr. Thompson’s vehicle.

Police continue to clash with the ongoing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline that have drawn demonstrators from all over the country. Police used pepper spray to remove protesters on Wednesday in the first significant clash since demonstrations turned violent last week and more than 100 people were arrested.

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