More than $600,000 spent on police gear for pipeline protest

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) North Dakota law enforcement purchased more than $600,000 worth of body armor, tactical equipment and crowd control devices during the height of protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The Associated Press tallied the purchases from invoices obtained through a public records request. They included pepper spray, flash-bang and smoke grenades, riot helmets, gas masks, night-vision goggles and more than 2,000 rounds of non-lethal ammunition.

Policing experts say the purchases seem reasonable. State Homeland Security Director Greg Wilz says they were part of a plan to keep officers, protesters and the public safe.

But Civil Liberties Defense Center Executive Director Lauren Regan says some of the gear may have worsened clashes.

Authorities made 761 arrests over a six-month span.

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