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The DAPL raid from the eyes of protesters

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Grand Forks, ND (WDAZ-TV)

A protest camp that was once home to thousands is empty.

And many of the last arrested are in Grand Forks.

After nearly 24 hours behind bars James McGinley walked out of the Grand Forks County Jail a free man.

"My body wanted to get out of there, but my soul said James, you cannot cooperate with the evil," he said.

McGinley was one of nearly four dozen protesters arrested Thursday morning. The last to stay, as police raided the main camp against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“In any treatment I personally received, all my sisters and brothers in uniform conducted themselves decently,” he explained.

Despite setting a 9 a.m. deadline, police and the Army Corps tried to negotiate with protesters for another 90 minutes before moving in with SWAT teams, snipers, soldiers and armored vehicles.

“A colonel says ok we aren’t coming in to arrest and 15 minutes later you are arresting a native grandmother,” said McGinley.

Of the nearly four dozen protesters arrested more than half, 25 to be exact, were brought to the Grand Forks County Jail more than 300 miles away.

“That really shows how short beds are,” said Grand Forks County Jail Administrator Bret Burkholder.

It's part of a statewide agreement setup in October. Morton County would work their way further and further across the state as more jail cells are needed.

“It's not crippling but additional resources are needed without question,” explained Burkholder.

The jail will bill Morton County 75 dollars a day per inmate. Most have bailed out. And the protesters haven’t caused any issues.

“Except for the fact their boots are muddy,” commented Burkholder.

Despite spending a night in jail James McGinley is thinking about heading back to one of the other protest camps.

“It's not fun to be in jail, none of these people want to be in jail, I don't want to be in jail, I want you young people to have a planet you can live on,” he said.

He's free now but McGinely could spend a year behind bars if convicted of obstruction.