Protester accused of assaulting pipeline worker in Virginia

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man protesting the Mountain Valley Pipeline is accused of assaulting a pipeline employee.

The Roanoke Times reports 46-year-old Jammie Hale was arrested Monday and charged with assault. State police Sgt. Rick Garlett says troopers were called that day to an eastern Montgomery County construction site and found more than a dozen protesters blocking access to the site. Garlett says the demonstrators left after some discussion.

Hale says he was at the protest when he recognized a member of Mountain Valley's security firm, Global Security Corp., from a confrontation in September. Hale says he then asked the worker "if he wanted to give me a try" and it escalated. Hale has since posted bail and been released from custody. It's unclear if he has a lawyer.

Hale was previously connected to a separate incident where tree sitters in the path of the pipeline were arrested for failing to comply with officers' demands.

Over recent years, dozens of people have been charged with crimes stemming from protests of the Mountain Valley Pipeline or from efforts to monitor its construction.