State law enforcement officials told legislators Thursday that they’re expecting “outside agitators” to come to North Carolina in the coming months to protest the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The comments came during a presentation about the N.C. Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which is part of the State Bureau of Investigation. The center coordinates communication between federal, state and local agencies to evaluate public safety threats and solve crimes.

Dirk German, an SBI special agent-in-charge who oversees the center, compared potential protests of the proposed natural gas pipeline along Interstate 95 to protests of a similar pipeline in North Dakot

“A lot of the protesters that are going to be coming in for that are going to be professional protesters that are not from North Carolina,” he told a legislative oversight committee.

The Information Sharing and Analysis Center has assisted local law enforcement in handling recent protests, including Chapel Hill protests calling for the Silent Sam statue to be removed. Melissa Roberts said her job at the center involves searching through social media posts to identify protesters and learn of their plans. “As all of the individuals starting showing up, I was able to identify a known individual who was a key instigator,” she said, adding that when officers arrested the man, the action served to “draw the crowd away from the statue and de-escalated that entire situation.”

Read more:

The News and Observer – Colin Campbell – 11.17.2017

Posted by: Nelson Bailey

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