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Trial scheduled for Dakota Access security firm accused of operating without a license

Signs left by protesters demonstrating against the Energy Transfer Partners Dakota Access oil pipeline sit at the gate of a construction access road where construction has been stopped for several weeks due to the protests near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. September 6, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

BISMARCK — A trial has been scheduled in the case of a Dakota Access Pipeline security firm that a North Dakota regulatory board alleged was operating in the state without a license during the monthslong protests.

A five-day trial is set to begin Oct. 8 at the Burleigh County Courthouse, according to a scheduling order signed by District Judge John Grinsteiner Monday, Jan. 8.

The North Dakota Private Investigative and Security Board filed a complaint in June alleging that it had denied an application to the founder of North Carolina-based TigerSwan to become a licensed security provider. But it said the founder, James Patrick Reese, "and/or" the firm have "illegally continued to conduct private investigative and/or private security services in North Dakota following the denial of their application of licensure."

Providing private investigative or private security services without a current license is a Class B misdemeanor.

Soon after the complaint was filed, Energy Transfer Partners said TigerSwan employees were "decommissioned" and that it "no longer need(s) boots on the ground."

TigerSwan has said it "did not undertake or furnish 'private security service' or 'private investigative service' within North Dakota" as defined by state law.

The 1,172-mile, $3.8 billion oil pipeline went into service this summer but is still subject to litigation. Its route near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation drew large protests.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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