Sisters of Red Fawn Fallis attended her sentencing hearing in Bismarck, North Dakota, on July 11, 2018. Photo: Red Fawn Support Committee

Red Fawn Fallis won't appeal sentence for #NoDAPL incident

Red Fawn sentenced
Defense won’t appeal ruling
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

BISMARCK, N. D. – Oglala Lakota tribal member Red Fawn Fallis, a self-proclaimed water protector, faces nearly three more years in federal prison, after her sentencing here July 11, for an officer-involved weapons discharge incident at the frontlines of the 2016-2017 conflict over Dakota Access Pipeline construction.

Appearing before North Dakota U.S. District Chief Judge Daniel Hovland, Red Fawn wore a ribbon dress, hair ties and beaded moccasins that her family brought her from home in Denver. Her wrists were handcuffed to a chain around her waist, and her ankles were in shackles.

She said she would not appeal the sentence after Hovland stipulated that he would hand down the same ruling if a higher court ordered him to reconsider.

The judge gave Red Fawn 18 months on her plea to a civil disorder charge and set it to run concurrently with a 57-month sentence on her bargain to accept an arms and ammunition possession charge. However, he noted, those four years and nine months of prison time will be reduced by the days she already has spent in custody since her October 27, 2016 arrest.

Red Fawn Fallis is seen behind a screen before her sentencing at the federal courthouse in Bismarck, North Dakota, on July 11, 2018. "My clothing was made with colors of protection, and the sunflowers represented our mother and her love to be with us in spirit through everything," she said on the website of the Red Fawn Support Committee. Her clothes were made and owned by family members, she said. Photo courtesy Red Fawn Support Committee

With good behavior, time also may be reduced by spending the last six months of the 57 at a halfway house. Hovland recommended incarceration in Phoenix or Tucson, Arizona, where Red Fawn would not be isolated from other Native American women.

He also recommended three years of supervised release, during which time a probation officer would be assigned to provide counseling, training and relocation. He did not assess a fine. However, a standard victims’ compensation fee of $100 per offense would apply if Red Fawn had funds, according to the Red Fawn Support Committee.

She plans on continuing her education while in prison, and she has a lot of good support in the Denver area to help her on supervised release, according to defense team attorney Bruce Ellison.

“During her restriction of liberty, she has taken time to grow a lot and keep turning into the person who can be a leader and an example in the future when she is free,” Ellison told the Native Sun News Today.

Prosecutors had requested the judge sentence Red Fawn to 84 months, or seven years, in prison. They claimed in a news release on July 12 that she “fired three gunshots in a quick succession” after a takedown by officers who then recovered a Ruger .38 Special revolver nearby and multiple rounds of .38 caliber ammunition in her jacket pocket.

The takedown was part of one of the largest raids on resistance camps during the seven-month joint law enforcement and private security operation to assure construction of the pipeline through unceded 1851 Ft. Laramie Treaty territory belonging to the Great Sioux Nation under the U.S. Constitution.

Red Fawn was among more than 140 arrested that day and among more than 800 detained in 2016 and 2017 on charges related to their opposition of the pipeline for treaty rights violation, desecration of sacred sites and environmental threats, as argued in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit against federal government for permitting the project.

Hovland ruled against the U.S. Attorney’s request to find that Red Fawn fired deliberately. After hearing an expert witness who examined the positions and movement of the defendant, the gun, the officers and the shots, the judge concluded that the discharge was most likely not on purpose, but physiologically provoked.


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