Wyoming News Update

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Here is the latest Wyoming news from The Associated Press

Wyoming sends troopers to North Dakota pipeline protest

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Some Indian leaders in Wyoming say they object to the state's decision to send six Highway Patrol troopers to North Dakota to help authorities there deal with Indian protesters opposing construction of an oil pipeline.

Col. Kebin Haller of the Wyoming Highway Patrol says six troopers went to North Dakota on Saturday and plan to return Nov. 8. Haller says the troopers volunteered after the governor of North Dakota declared an emergency and asked other states for law enforcement assistance.

More than 100 protesters were arrested over the weekend in Morton County, North Dakota, in the faceoff between protesters and Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, developer of the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes in Wyoming have expressed support for the protesters.

Mills officer cleared in fatal shooting of Casper man

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The Natrona County District Attorney's Office has found a Mills police officer justified in the fatal shooting of a man who authorities say fired shots into several Casper homes before turning the gun on officers.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Officer Jake Bigelow has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing for the June death of 50-year-old Jeffrey Hyde.

Police had responded to reports on June 21 that a gunman was shooting into homes to find Hyde armed with a rifle.

District Attorney Michael Blonigen says in an August letter that Hyde fired 30 rounds into surrounding homes before firing at officers.

Bigelow returned fire, killing Hyde.

No officers were injured but one neighbor suffered cuts from broken glass.

Investigators couldn't determine what prompted Hyde to start shooting in the Casper neighborhood.

Wyoming sees another drop in unemployment rate

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming's unemployment rate fell in September for the second consecutive month.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that federal statistics show the state's jobless rate was 5.3 percent last month, down from 5.5 percent in August and 5.7 percent in July.

State economist David Bullard says an increased rig count and rising oil prices could've led energy companies to hire more workers during those months.

But the drop in unemployment could also be attributed to workers leaving the state. Bullard cited economic growth in neighboring states such as Colorado, Utah and Idaho as an incentive for Wyoming workers to move.

Although fewer residents are unemployed, the state still faces financial trouble because of dwindling energy revenues.

Gov. Matt Mead is encouraging lawmakers to draw from the state's $1.5 billion rainy day fund to make up for the shortfalls.

Ex-Casper Councilman files suit against former police chief

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A former Casper City Councilman has filed a lawsuit accusing the former police chief of conducting illegal database searches about him.

Attorneys representing Craig Hedquist on Monday filed a lawsuit claiming former Police Chief Chris Walsh conducted database searches about the former councilman without legitimate law enforcement purposes. Hedquist is seeking actual and punitive damages from Walsh and the city for emotional distress.

Walsh previously told the Casper Star-Tribune that the database used is not limited to police and is a public database. On Monday he said he was unaware of the lawsuit.

Hedquist resigned from the city council in August 2015.