Shailene Woodley Broadcasts Her Trespassing Arrest on Facebook Live

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(Photo: Instagram)
Shailene Woodley, who has been protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline for months, was arrested Oct. 10 for criminal trespassing. (Photo: Instagram)

Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars actress Shailene Woodley was in the midst of a peaceful protest at the Dakota Access Pipeline Oct. 10 when she was arrested for criminal trespassing — and she shared the entire experience on Facebook Live.

“Riot police are arriving at this peaceful protest where people are praying,” Woodley says in disgust at the beginning of the video, shaking her head at the scene starting to unfold at the site in Morton County, N.D.

Woodley recorded more than two hours of footage that was shared on Facebook, showing herself among a crowd of people picketing and chanting. Every once in a while she would turn the camera around on herself to address viewers. “This is America — America,” she says sadly. “And look what we’re faced with when we’re trying to protect clean water.”

It’s toward the end of the video when Woodley’s part in the protest takes a turn. After one of the organizers announces that it’s time to leave, the demonstrators begin to break up and start returning to their vehicles to go home. Woodley continues her live feed, showing that her mom is at the protest with her, commenting on the police presence in the area (“These cops with their helicopter behind them … it’s so eerie, they’re out of their element. But I have to say, they were pretty cool today.”) And she almost makes it back to her RV, safe and sound — almost.

“Guys, not to make a bad cinema joke, but there’s some Divergent s*** about to happen,” she tells the camera, then turns it around to show a large armored vehicle parked right next to her RV. “I was just told the cops are following me. Send some prayers!”

The cops were indeed following Woodley — and decided to make their presence officially known to her.

“I don’t know if you guys just heard me, but I was walking back to my RV, which is right there so that we can go back to camp peacefully and they grabbed me by my jacket and said that I was not allowed to continue,” she told the camera. “And they had giant guns and batons and zip ties and they’re not letting me go.”

Woodley attempts to address the cops, but gets shut down quickly. “We can’t talk right here,” one of the cops tells her. “But right now you’re going to be placed under arrest for criminal trespassing.”

“I have one question,” Woodley starts, but the cop cuts her off.

“We’re not going to answer any questions right now,” he says bluntly.

“Why am I being arrested and no one else is being arrested right now?” she persists.

“You trespassed on the property, so you’re being placed under arrest right now,” another cop states.

“Yeah, but so were hundreds of other people,” Woodley tells him. “When you asked us to leave, we did.”

“You were identified,” the cops explain.

“All right, I’m being arrested,” she tells the camera as she puts her hands behind her back. “Because I was trespassing like everyone … it’s because I’m well known. It’s because I have 40,000 people watching.”

As she’s being led away, she explains, “So everybody knows … we were going to our vehicle which they had all surrounded and waiting for me with giant guns and a giant truck behind them just so they could arrest me. I hope you’re watching, mainstream media.”

Woodley has never been shy about sharing her political leanings and her passion for environmental issues. She has been a staunch supporter of Bernie Sanders, trumpeting his stance against the Dakota Access Pipeline — also known as the Bakken pipeline — throughout the year. In August, Woodley attended a rally with 200 other protesters arguing against the pipeline — an event she also shared on Facebook Live that ended without incident.

Shailene laid it all on the line (or street) to protest the Dakota Access pipeline. (Photo: Instagram)
Shailene laid it all on the line (or street) to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Photo: Instagram)

Initially it seemed the Oct. 10 protest would also end without issue. As the video continues from Woodley’s introduction, it shows the crowd of protesters coming to a standoff with riot police — but their protest is nonviolent, with the crowd largely choosing to stand defiantly in front of the cops. Sometimes they’re talking among themselves; sometimes they’re standing in silence. Periodically a chant of “You can’t drink oil!” rumbles through the crowd, but as Woodley continuously documents, nobody is behaving aggressively.

“So the reason why we’re here is because last night, the U.S. District Court of Appeals decided to deny the injunction to halt construction of the pipeline,” Woodley explains roughly an hour and a half into the live feed. As she shares with an interviewer later on, “What does this mean? This means that once again the government isn’t paying attention to people, they’re paying attention to corporations.”

Woodley has been actively protesting the pipeline since February, along with fellow actresses Rosario Dawson and Susan Sarandon. If completed, the pipeline would run 1,100 miles across the Missouri River and through the Dakotas, amid concerns of contaminated ground water and environmental destruction.

(Photo: Instagram)
(Photo: Instagram)

When interviewed by a journalist from Fusion on the scene, Woodley stated, “I’m a 24-year-old woman who cares not only about the generations that are alive right now, but the generations to come. And we’re here to protect clean water, and we’re here to protect the land, and we’re here to reconnect humanity to our roots, which is the earth, which is recognizing that we cannot help the earth and do anything to and for the earth until we realize we are made of earth, so we have to start with ourselves.”

Woodley is in good company — there’s an illustrious lineup of celebrities who have been arrested in the name of their political beliefs. In 2012, George Clooney was arrested when protesting against violence in Sudan, rallying against President Omar al-Bashir in order to get humanitarian aid to the region. Darryl Hannah has been arrested numerous times — once in 2006 for protesting the bulldozing of the South Central Farm in Los Angeles (during which she famously chained herself to a tree for three weeks), in 2009 for protesting mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia, and again in 2011 for protesting the Keystone XL oil pipeline during a sit-in outside the White House.

Woody Harrelson was arrested in 1996 with nine other protesters who climbed the Golden Gate Bridge in the name of a 60,000-acre redwood grove they wanted the government to protect. In 2001, actor James Cromwell was arrested for a protest he staged with PETA inside a Virginia-area Wendy’s. And Woodley’s fellow pipeline activists have also felt the legal sting of standing for their rights. Sarandon was arrested multiple times in high school for protesting the Vietnam War, and Dawson was arrested this past spring as part of a protest against the financial systems that taint the election process.