Unlawful Arrest Targeting Protected Speech
Bismarck, ND: Red Fawn Fallis appeared in federal District Court here today, where her attorneys argued Motions to Suppress in front of Chief Judge Daniel Hovland. Today’s hearing was the continuation from a full day of testimony on Friday December 8.
Defense attorneys assert that law enforcement had no probable cause to arrest Ms. Fallis, who was lawfully exercising her First Amendment rights. Any property or physical evidence recovered at the time of her arrest are fruits of an illegal seizure and should be suppressed.
Law enforcement testimony during the hearing showed that Ms. Fallis was taken down in a violent manner and forcefully restrained by numerous police officers – to the extent that one officer was concerned that she might not be breathing.
The evidence supports the conclusion that Ms. Fallis was seized solely based on her exercise of protected expressive speech and conduct. Her arrest is but one more example of law enforcement targeting Water Protectors they consider to be leaders and unlawfully arresting them.
Ms. Fallis was arrested on October 27, 2016 on the day of the North Camp eviction. She is charged with Civil Disorder, Discharge of a Firearm in Relation to a Felony Crime of Violence, and Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition by a Convicted Felon. “Civil Disorder” is a rarely used statute that criminalizes participation in a public disturbance – it has historically been disproportionately used against political activists and communities of color.
Ms. Fallis is represented by attorneys Molly Armour, Jessie Cook and Bruce Ellison and is scheduled for trial on January 29, 2018 in United States District Court for the District of North Dakota in the Fargo Divisional Office. Ms. Fallis was incarcerated without bond for one year and is currently confined to a halfway house as she prepares for trial.
Red Fawn, a Lakota Sioux woman, is one of seven federal defendants with cases arising from the events of October 27, 2016 at Standing Rock, and she will be the first to trial. Over 300 Water Protectors are still awaiting trial in their state criminal cases.
Defense Memorandum in Support of Motion to Suppress Evidence (October 23, 2017)
*This statement or portions thereof may be attributed to: Water Protector Legal Collective
Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) provides on-the-ground legal representation and coordination for Water Protectors engaged in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, ND.