Statement of Jessica Reznicek & Ruby Montoya on DAPL 7-24-17


For more info contact:
Frank Corddaro
515 490 2490
Des Moines Catholic Worker / Berrigan CW House
713 Indiana Ave, Des Moines IA 50314

This is our statement, we will be representing ourselves, as standby counsel and immediate contact is federal attorney, Bill Quigley,, 504-710-3074. Media contact, Amber Mae, 618-334-6035,; Melissa Fuller 515-490-5705.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is an issue that affects this entire nation and the people that are subject to its rule. With DAPL we have seen incredible issues regarding the rule of law, indigenous sovereignty, land seizures, state sanctioned brutality, as well as corporate protections and pardons for their wrongdoings. To all those that continue to be subjected to the government’s injustices, we humbly stand with you, and we ask now that you stand with us.

Federal courts gave corporations permission to lie and withhold information from the public resulting in a complete media blackout. So, after recently being called by the Intercept, an independent media outlet, regarding illegal surveillance by the Dakota Access Pipeline and their goons, we viewed this as an opportunity to encourage public discourse surrounding nonviolent direct action as well as exposing the inadequacies of the government and the corporations they protect.

After having explored and exhausted all avenues of process, including attending public commentary hearings, gathering signatures for valid requests for Environmental Impact Statements, participating in Civil Disobedience, hunger strikes, marches and rallies, boycotts and encampments, we saw the clear deficiencies of our government to hear the people’s demands.

Instead, the courts and public officials allowed these corporations to steal permissions from landowners and brutalize the land, water, and people. Our conclusion is that the system is broken and it is up to us as a individuals to take peaceful action and remedy it, and this we did, out of necessity.

We acted for our children and the world that they are inheriting is unfit. There are over five major bodies of water here in Iowa, and none of them are clean because of corporation’s flagrant irresponsibility, and now another wishes to poison literally millions of us irreparably by putting us all at risk of another major catastrophe with yet another oil spill. DAPL has already leaked, and it will continue do so until the oil is shut off and the pipes are removed from the ground.

On elecion night 2016, we began our peaceful direct action campaign to a Dakota Access construction site and burned at least 5 pieces of heavy machinery in Buena Vista County, IA. Details regarding this action are attached to this statement below. This was information which was not shared with the public. We recognize that our action wasn’t much, but we at least stopped construction for a day at that particular site.

We then began to research the tools necessary to pierce through 5/8 inch steel pipe, the material used for this pipeline. In March we began to apply this self-gathered information. We began in Mahaska County, IA, using oxy-acetylene cutting torches to pierce through exposed, empty steel valves, successfully delaying completion of the pipeline for weeks. After the success of this peaceful action, we began to use this tactic up and down the pipeline, throughout Iowa (and a part of South Dakota), moving from valve to valve until running out of supplies, and continuing to stop the completion of this project. More information on these actions is followed at the end of this statement.

These actions of great public interest were hardly reported and the federal government and Energy Transfer Partners colluded together to lie and withhold vital information to the public.

We then returned to arsonry as a tactic. Using tires and gasoline-soaked rags we burned multiple valve sites, their electrical units, as well as additional heavy equipment located on DAPL easements throughout Iowa, further halting construction.

Later, in the first week of May we attempted yet again to pierce a valve located in Wapallo County, IA with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch. It was at this time we discovered oil was flowing through the pipe. This was beyond disheartening to us, as well as to the nation at large. This event was again hidden from the public and replaced with lies about “ditch depressions”.

We stand here now today as witnesses of peaceful, nonviolent direct action. Our actions have been those of necessity and humility. We feel we have done nothing to be ashamed of. For some reason the courts and ruling government value corporate property and profit over our inherent human rights to clean water and land.

We are speaking publicly to empower others to act boldly, with purity of heart, to dismantle the infrastructures which deny us our rights to water, land and liberty. We as civilians have seen the repeated failures of the government and it is our duty to act with responsibility and integrity, risking our own liberty for the sovereignty of us all.

Some may view these actions as violent, but be not mistaken. We acted from our hearts and never threatened human life nor personal property. What we did do was fight a private corporation that has run rampantly across our country seizing land and polluting our nation’s water supply. You may not agree with our tactics, but you can clearly see the necessity of them in light of the broken federal government and the corporations they protect.

We do not anticipate a fair trial but do expect our loved ones to undergo harassment from the federal government and the corporations they protect. We urge you to not speak one word to the federal government and stand firm in order to not be oppressed further into making false, but self-incriminating statements. Film these interactions. There are resources as what to do if the federal agents appear at your doorstep, educate and protect yourself.
It is unfortunate to have to prepare for such things, but this is the government that rules, which continues to look more and more like a Nazi, fascist Germany as each day passes. We salute the people.

Details of our peaceful direct action are as follows. We hope this information helps inspire others to act boldly and peacefully, and to ease any anxieties to perceptions held that the state and these corporations are somehow an “omniscient” and “undefeatable” entity.

After studying intuitively how fires work, and the material of the infrastructures which we wished to halt (metal) we learned that the fire had to be hot enough to melt steel — and we have learned typical arsonry is not allows the most effective means, but every action is a thorn in their side.

On election night, knowing that gasoline burns quickly, but does not sustain by itself, we added motor oil (which burns at a higher temperature and for longer) and rags to coffee canisters and placed them on the seats of the machinery, piercing the coffee canisters once they were in place and striking several matches, anticipating that the seats would burn and maintain a fire long enough to make the machines obsolete. One canister did not light, and that is unfortunate, but five out of six ain’t bad.

As we saw construction continue, we realized that pipe was going into the ground and that our only means to obstruct further corporate desecration was somehow to pierce through the empty steel pipes exposed at the numerous valve sites. We learned that a welding torch using oxygen and acetylene was the proper tool. We bought the equipment outside of our city in efforts to maintain anonymity as our goal was to push this corporation beyond their means to eventually abandon the project. We bought kits at Home Depot and the tanks at welding supply stores, like Praxair and Mathesons. Having no experience with welding equipment before, we learned through our own volition and we were able to get the job down to 7 minutes. In our particular circumstances, we learned that scouting often hindered our ability to act in windows of opportunity. So, we went with our torches and protective gear on, and found numerous sites, feeling out the “vibe” of each situation, and deciding to act then and there, often in broad daylight. Trust your spirit, trust the signs.

Having run out of supplies (the tanks) we decided to return to arsonry because every action counts. We used gasoline and rags along with tires (as tires burn a nice while, once a steady fire within them burns) to multiple DAPL sites and equipment.

We were able to get more supplies shortly after and returned to a valve site in Wapello County to act again. It was then we discovered that oil was flowing through the pipeline. This was not reported to the public, instead a story of “ditch depressions” was reported to the public in Wapello County as the reason to why the pipeline continued to be delayed.

It is because of these lies we choose to come out publicly, to set the record straight, and be open about these peaceful and viable tactics against corporate atrocities.

If there are any regrets, it is that we did not act enough.

Please support and stand with us in this journey because we all need this pipeline stopped.

Water is Life, oil is death.

Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya


Link to Jessica Reznicek’s writings and campaigns 2012-2017

Read “Uncomfortable” by J Reznicek p.1 , Via Pacis – April 2017 issue of Des Moines Catholic Worker news paper

What is Miss.Stand?
Mississippi Stand was an encampment started in Lee County, Iowa the 30th of August by Reznicek in opposition to the drilling underneath the Mississippi River in Iowa.
“FaceBook” posst covering Jessica Reznicek & Miss Stand campaign on Miss. Rived from Aug 30 to Oct 21 by F Cordaro

. The encampment started with this one woman from Dallas County and has grown into a mobile caravan of resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline that runs across the state of Iowa.

How Jess earned the nick name “Hammer of Justice”
For her sledge hammer and baseball witness on Dec 27, 2015 at the STRATCOM/ Northrop Grumman offices in Bellevue NE see below links …
“Why I acted” Hammer of Justice Jessica Reznicek’s statement from Sarpy County Jail, Jan 11, 2016
“Jailed peace activist prepares for trial, plans to put Northrop Grumman in hot seat” by Amber Williams, Via Pacis, April 2016

“Sometimes Nothing Can Be A Real Cool Hand: Jessica Reznicek appeals to jury with Cool Hand Luke defense on trial in Nebraska” by Frank Cordaro, Via Pacis, July 16, 2016


Jessica Reznicek in her own words….
An introduction to DM Catholic Worker, Jessica Reznicek in her own words from the Via Pacis, the DM Catholic Worker news paper and community she has lived in and with over the last five years.
Links to 10 via pacis articles by Jess between March 2012 and July 2015.

Postings from National CW’s list serve from Nov 21-Dec 4 – the first 14 days of Jessica Reznicek’s Shut Down DAPL Fast, Vigil & Occupation of the IUB, DM IA

Day 14 / Dec 4 – Army Corps stops DAPL in ND, Reznicek breaks her fast … “it’s time to get healthy, reorganize, and shut this pipeline down for good!”!searchin/national-cw-e-mail-list/DM$20Catholic$20Worker$20and$20Water$20Protector$2C$20Jessica$20Reznicek$20breaks$20her$2014$20day$20$20fast.%7Csort:relevance/national-cw-e-mail-list/iLCsf9HjFcs/bZjVQAS6BAAJ

Day 13 / Dec 3 – 13th Day of Jessica Reznicek’s Fast, Vigil and Occupation at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) offices begging the DAPL be Stopped!!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/qOjmx6m7rJI

Day 12 / Dec 2 – DMCW Jessica Reznicek 12th Day Fast at IUB Report; new banner, new vigil schedule and call for direct action Wen. Dec 7..!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/YwNqTg3vRGY

Day 11 / Dec 1 – Two fasting Water Protectors out of jail. Reznicek continues fast, returns to Iowa Utilities Board tomorrow a.m, a call for nonviolent direct action Wed. Dec 7th at IUB …. message from the DMCW!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/MihOTf2OZ18

Day 10 / Nov 30 – Two fasting Water Protectors arrested in Iowa Utilities Board lobby demanding meeting with IUB Chair … a call for
nonviolent direct action Wed. Dec 7th at IUB …. message from the DMCW!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/9fMfVgoojqI

Day 7 / Nov 27 – 7th Day DAPL / IUB Fast, Vigil and Occupation report … from Frank Cordaro DMCW!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/g-INEJUQ3Mc

Day 6 / Nov 26 – 6th Day DAPL / IUB Fast, Vigil and Occupation report …. from Frank Cordaro DMCW!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/BQuvLOW_cWc

Day 5 / Nov 25 – 5th Day DAPL / IUB Fast, Vigil and Occupation report!searchin/national-cw-e-mail-list/reznicek%7Csort:date/national-cw-e-mail-list/sdqGoQDj5YQ/7wiRzWwrAgAJ

Day 4 / Nov 24, 2016 4th Day Fast / MissStand Water Protectors protest at IA Gov’s home Thanksgiving Day – interview with Jess Reznicek!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/l2OD5QEj2Sc
“Fasting at the IUB to stop the DAPL” a 7 min video interview of Jessica Reznicek by DM vediographer Roger Routh, Thanksgiving Day, the 4th day of her open ended fast, vigil and occupation of the Iowa Utilities Board Office in Des Moines

Day 2 / Nov 22, 2016 Day 2 – “Shut Down DAPL” 24/7 ‘out doors’ Fast, Vigil and Occupation at the IA Utilities Board DM Office!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/6sKrEK-9SL0

Day 1 / Nov 21, 2016 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Mississippi Stand Water Protectors start Open Ended Fast in front of Iowa Utilities Board Office in Des Moines, Iowa!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/D3jk8QuoLUg

Nov 21, 2016 DMCWers Jessica Reznicek & Julie Brown begin a 24/7 outdoor fast, vigil and occupation of the sidewalk in front of the IA Utilities Board office in DM to protest DAPL!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/3vMvdXQG4dQ

More Media Coverage …

Dec 1
*”Facing arrest, pipeline protesters stick to principles” by Rekha Basu, DM Reg, December 1, 2016!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/-hLYXVJ6iuw
Nov 30 –
*14 min video of Jessica Reznicek’s arrest inside of the Iowa Utilities Board after ten days of fasting outside to stop the Dakota
Access Pipeline.

*Pipeline protesters arrested at IUB offices “Water protector” dragged away in handcuffs” by Amanda Krenz, We are Iowa, Nov 30, 2016
*Protesters increase efforts as pipeline nears completion,” KCCI Channel 8 Nov 30, 2016
* “Protesters Seeking Action from Iowa Utilities Board on Dakota Access Pipeline,” TV 13 WHO, Nov 30, 2016
Protesters Seeking Action from Iowa Utilities Board on Dakota Access Pipeline
Nov 24 –
*Dakota Access pipeline protestors start open-ended fast before Iowa Utilities Board Office in Des Moines, NIT, Nov 24, 2016
*Dakota Access pipeline protestors start open-ended fast before Iowa Utilities Board Office in Des Moines, NIT, Nov 24, 2016
Nov 21
*”Anti-Pipeline Protesters Fast Outside IUB Building” by Sarah Beckman, (2min) TV5 News DM
* “Some Bakken oil pipeline protesters going on hunger strike” ABC News Cedar Rapids IA–402371666.html


A Letter to Social Justice Advocates: Thirteen Lessons Learned by Katrina Social Justice Advocates Looking Back Ten Years Later


The Significance of Race: Legislative Racial Discrimination in Louisiana 1803-1865

This article provides a survey of racially discriminatory legislation in Louisiana from 1803, when the Louisiana Purchase was concluded, through the end of the Civil War in 1865.3 It reveals but a portion of the state history of official racial discrimination in that period. Court decisions, acts of local government, societal custom and culture must also be viewed to create a more complete picture.4
The historical period covered in this article reflects several phases of the development of Louisiana law. The first is the territorial period from 1803, when the Louisiana Purchase was concluded, through 1812, when Louisiana became a state. During this time, the legislative acts are those of the territorial legislature. The second is the period from statehood in 1812 through the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865. The period from reconstruction to the 1970s will be addressed in a subsequent article.
As a result of the laws surveyed here, tens of thousands of people were held in slavery with the full support of the legislature *147 and its statutes. Free blacks were relegated to second class citizenship and kept few in number by other legislative acts.
While this review of legislative acts illustrates only a portion of the total picture of racial discrimination to which citizens of color were subjected, it does show the solemn legislative will determined to keep Louisiana’s citizens of color, free and unfree, as powerless and enslaved as possible.racial-discrimination-louisiana-1803-1865

Know Your Rights: Immigrants Affected by Federally Declared Disasters

NOWCRJ KYR Immigration and disaster relief (2)

Andrea Burton Federal Civil Rights Complaint Affidavit

Affidavit Andrea Burton 8-18-16

Andrea Burton Federal Civil Rights Action Challenging the Judge who Jailed her for wearing a Black Lives Matter pin

USDC Complaint 8-18-16

Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers: Race and Class Gap Widening


By Bill Quigley.  Bill teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans.

Summary.  Hurricane Katrina hit eleven years ago.  Population of the City of New Orleans is down by over 95,000 people from 484,674 in 2000 to 389,617 in 2015.  Almost all this loss of people is in the African American community.  Child poverty is up, double the national average.   The gap between rich and poor in New Orleans is massive, the largest in the country.  The economic gap between well off whites and low income African Americans is widening.   Despite receiving $76 billion in assistance after Katrina, it is clear that poor and working people in New Orleans, especially African Americans, got very little of that help.   Here are the numbers.

35           The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority reported that 62 percent of pre-Katrina service has been restored.  But Ride New Orleans, a transit rider organization, says streetcar rides targeted at tourists are fully restored but bus service for regular people is way down, still only at 35 percent of what it was before Katrina.   That may explain why there has been a big dip in the number of people using public transportation in New Orleans, down from 13 percent in 2000 to 9 percent now.

44           Over two of every five children in New Orleans lives in poverty about double the national rate.   The current rate of 44 percent is up 3 percentage points from 1999 and up 12 points from 2007.   Overall, there are 50,000 fewer children under the age of 18 living in New Orleans than there were in 2000.  In 2000 there were 129,408 and the latest numbers have dropped to 79,432 according to the Census figures reported by The Data Center.

50           Since Hurricane Katrina, home values have risen 54 percent and rent is up 50 percent. The annual household income needed to afford rent in New Orleans is $38,000, but 71 percent of workers earn on average $35,000. The average yearly income for service workers is $23,000 and only $10,000 for musicians. New Orleans has only 47 affordable rental units for every 100 low-income residents. Thirty-seven percent of households in the city are paying half of their income for housing, which is much higher than recommended.   36 percent of renters pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing, up from 24 percent in 2004.   The New Orleans metro area ranks second in the top ten worst metro areas for cash strapped renters, according to the Make Room Initiative.   Government leaders bulldozed over 3000 apartments of occupied public housing right after Katrina but now say there is a critical immediate need for at least 5000 affordable low income apartments.

93           Ninety three percent of New Orleans’ 48,000 public school students are in charter schools, the highest percentage in the US.   Before Katrina, there were over 65,000 students enrolled in New Orleans public schools, less than 1 percent in charter schools.  There are now 44 governing bodies for public schools in New Orleans.   There are seven types of charter schools in Louisiana.  The public schools are 87 percent African American.  Widespread charter school problems for students with disabilities are getting a little bit better according to a federal court monitor report.   The public has very mixed feelings about the system reflected in the most recent poll which shows 43 percent of whites think the schools are getting better compared to 31 percent of African Americans, while 23 percent of African-Americans thought schools were getting worse, in contrast to 15 percent of whites.

2,000     Black median income in New Orleans rose from $23,000 in 2005 to $25,000 eight years later while white median income rose by $11,000 from $49,000 to $60,000 during the same time.

6,811     White population of New Orleans is down from 128,871 in 2000 to 122,060 in 2015 according to The Data Center.

7,023     Hispanic population in New Orleans grew from 14,826 in 2000 to 21,849 in 2015.   There has been significant growth in the Hispanic population in metro New Orleans area from 58,545 in 2000 to 109,553 in 2015 mostly in Jefferson Parish.

64,000   Over 64,000 working women in New Orleans earn less than $17,500 per year.   One source of good jobs, working for the school board, was eliminated when 7500 employees were terminated right after Katrina.

95,057   The population of the City of New Orleans is 95,057 less in 2015 when it was 389,617 compared to 2000 when it was 484,674, according to the Data Center.

95,625   There are 95,625 fewer African Americans living in New Orleans (Orleans Parish) now than in the 2000 Census, according to Census figures reported by The Data Center.   The percentage of New Orleans that is African American has dropped from 66 percent to 58 percent.  Overall African American population in New Orleans dropped from 323,000 in 2000 to 227,000 in 2015.   Black residents of New Orleans continue to be unfairly and disproportionately stopped and searched by police and also more likely to be arrested for marijuana use than other residents.  That situation is even worse for other New Orleans metro residents as Gretna Louisiana, just across the Mississippi River, was recently cited as the arrest capital of the entire nation.

2,800,000             The US Department of Justice reported Louisiana has 2.8 million people in its criminal database.  There are 4.6 million people in Louisiana.

Last        Louisiana continues to rank dead last in poverty, racial disparities and exclusion of immigrants.  But New Orleans has plenty of wealthy people, in fact Bloomberg ranked New Orleans the worst in the entire country in income inequality.   Louisiana also ranks last in national rankings of the quality and safety of school systems.  Louisiana incarcerates more of its citizens than any of the other 50 states at a rate double the national average.  And Louisiana has the highest healthcare costs because of high rates of premature deaths, diabetes, and obesity.  In a welcome but too rare piece of good health news, Louisiana’s new Governor expanded Medicaid coverage and enrolled 250,000 additional people in the health care program in July 2016.

76 Billion dollars came to Louisiana because of Katrina.  This information makes it clear who did NOT get the money.


Special thanks to The Data Center a terrific source of information showing how the community is doing.