Attorney Moves to Dismiss Water Protector “DNA” Case

On September 9, 2019 the State of North Dakota filed a criminal complaint in Morton County District Court charging Lawrence Malcolm, and Indigenous Water Protector, with conspiracy to commit criminal mischief (a felony) and engaging in a riot (a misdemeanor). These charges arose from actions that supposedly took place on September 6, 2016 during #NoDAPL movement. The only evidence the State has to connect Mr. Lawrence with these crimes is a cigarette butt with a sample of DNA that fits his profile.

This story was covered widely in the press (see the Bismarck Tribune, New York Times, APNews, WPTA21, Rapid City Journal, Washington Post, WNYT, and Daily Mail.)

Bruce Nestor, attorney for Lawrence Malcolm, filed a motion to dismiss with supporting memorandum of law. In the papers the defense argues that there is not enough evidence to support count one and count two of the criminal complaint.

Quoting from the memo:

“The Affidavit, however, does not link Lawrence Malcolm, Jr, to any of the alleged crimes that occurred on that date nor establish probable cause that Mr. Malcolm committed any of the elements of the offense charged. The Criminal Complaint in this matter should be dismissed at this time, prior to any preliminary hearing, to prevent Mr. Malcolm from being subjected to a groundless and improvident prosecution.”

The defense further argues that just because a cigarette that Mr. Malcolm may have touched is near the scene of a crime or crimes, there is no evidence that he committed any crime, Further there is no evidence to when or even if he was at the scene of the crime.

As a result of this filing, the Water Protector Legal Collective is hopeful that this case will be dismissed soon.