Jill Stein is set to return to North Dakota to face charges stemming from a spray-painting incident that occurred while she was protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
It is not the first (nor the last time) the Green Party’s nominee for president of the United States has found herself on the wrong side of the law while protesting.
As previously reported, last week, the politician, her running mate Ajamu Baraka, and many members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe took part in a series of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Morton County, Noth Dakota.
The tribe wants to halt construction on a section of the $3.8 billion four-state pipeline because members believe it will pollute their water and destroy sacred and culturally sensitive grounds.
Dr. Stein joined in with other protesters to spray-paint a construction equipment. She was seen on camera spray-painting the words “I approve this message” in red paint on the blade of a bulldozer. On Wednesday, many of the protesters including Stein and Baraka were charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief. Authorities issued arrest warrants.
In a press conference in Chicago, the activist said that she would return to North Dakota to face the charges filed against her. She explained that her hectic schedule had prevented her from traveling to the state to handle the matter. Illinois authorities have no plans to arrest Stein; she was in the state for a few days. Speaking to reporters at the Fine Arts Building on South Michigan, she said:
“We will go back to face our charges and to have our day in court . . . again, scheduling is the issue.”
Stein went on to say that she should not have been charged in the first place. She said:
“We think those warrants are misdirected.Those warrants should be actually directed at the real criminals here, who are violating our water supplies, who are putting our climate at grave risk … .”
Stein denied her use of a spray could be a PR stunt designed to boost poll numbers. She said:
“I certainly didn’t go there intending to engage in civil disobedience.I was asked by the people at the demonstration.”
Last week, a federal judge denied the tribe’s request to stop the construction of the pipeline temporarily, and many expect them to keep protesting nonetheless.
In August of 2012, Stein, Cheri Honkala, an anti-poverty activist and former running mate, and few others were arrested during a sit-in at a Philadelphia bank to protest housing foreclosures on behalf of several city residents struggling to keep their homes.
In October of that same year, Stein and Honkala were arrested after they tried to enter the site of the presidential debate at Hofstra University. A few days later, Stein was arrested again in Texas after getting involved with people protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.