The Intercept: Oil and Water Part 14

FOLLOWING AN EMOTIONAL hearing in Bismarck, North Dakota, this week, Oglala Lakota Sioux water protector Red Fawn Fallis was sentenced to 57 months in prison on charges stemming from her arrest while opposing the Dakota Access pipeline.

Fallis was arrested in October 2016 when hundreds of law enforcement officers descended on a protest camp in the pipeline’s path to forcibly evict its residents. She was accused of firing three shots from a revolver underneath her stomach after being tackled by several officers and pinned face down in a ditch alongside the highway.

As The Intercept first reported last year, the gun Fallis was accused of firing belonged to an FBI informant named Heath Harmon who had developed a romantic relationship with Fallis in the weeks leading up to her arrest. Harmon told state and federal investigators that he met Fallis at the water protectors’ Rosebud Camp after being tasked by the FBI with serving as an “observer” of the protest movement. He said he had been recruited by his brother, Chad Harmon, a Bureau of Indian Affairs police officer.

Chad Harmon was subsequently appointed by the BIA to serve as acting chief of police of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a position he held from January to April 2018, BIA spokesperson Nedra Darling confirmed in a statement to The Intercept.

Fallis’s arrest occurred on land that would still belong to the Great Sioux Nation had the U.S. government honored the Fort Laramie treaties of 1851 and 1868. In January, after U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland rejected attempts by Fallis’s defense team to make treaty rights and the sprawling intelligence apparatus targeting pipeline opponents central to her case, Fallis pleaded guilty to felony counts of civil disorder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors dropped the most serious charge against her — discharge of a firearm in relation to a felony crime of violence — which could have carried a life sentence.

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Full story with links to the underlying documents at The Intercept here