Shailene Woodley Arrested for Protesting Dakota Pipeline

By George Khoury, Esq. on October 12, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

While it seems like every week there's a celebrity championing some cause or another, it is rare that any celebrity is willing to go so far as to get arrested. However, Shailene Woodley isn't just any celebrity. She was arrested this month while protesting against the Dakota oil pipeline that is currently under construction.

Activist groups in North Dakota have been protesting to prevent the construction of the pipeline, which cuts through a portion of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation, as well as through historic and sacred sites of the tribe. Along with Shailene Woodley, journalists and high profile politicians have been arrested at the protest.

Shailene Woodley to Be Charged With Criminal Trespass

According to the reports, Ms. Woodley will be charged with criminal trespass along with numerous other protesters who refused to vacate after police ordered the protestors to disburse. The video captured by Woodley shows that she was not detained until after she left the protest site. Nevertheless, as she and the protesters were not given permission to be on the land, it is likely that the elements of a criminal trespass charge were met.

Strangely though, trespass is usually nothing more than a minor misdemeanor. And to make matters even stranger, Woodley was arrested in front of her own mother, who was present with her at the protest and can be heard on video admitting to being there, yet mom did not get arrested. Woodley's arrest was not only captured on video, there is an additional 2 hours of footage prior to her arrest. Woodley's footage shows a peaceful, though disobedient, group of protesters preventing work on the pipeline from continuing by blocking workers.

Prominent Politician and Others Arrested Over Pipeline Protests

While Shailene Woodley is the biggest name to be arrested over the pipeline protests, a warrant has been issued for presidential candidate Jill Stein for her protesting activities against the pipeline in North Dakota. Additionally, local politician Rebecca Kemble was also arrested.

In addition to the politicians and celebrities, Democracy Now! documentarian and journalist Amy Goodman has had a warrant issued for her arrest for criminal trespass stemming from her protest activities over the North Dakota pipeline. Goodman obtained footage of police and hired security using pepper spray and dogs to attack protesters. Somehow, despite First Amendment protections, prosecutors are basing the trespass charges against her on the footage Goodman obtained at the protest as a journalist.

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