Red Fawn Fallis. Courtesy photo

A 'political prisoner': Red Fawn Fallis takes the fall for #NoDAPL incident

Was Red Fawn victim of frame-up?
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

BISMARCK, N. D. – Red Fawn Fallis’ recent sentencing to federal prison was the closing of a criminal court proceeding here, but also the opening of a curtain covering a frame-up of hundreds of indigenous water protectors like her who support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s ongoing litigation against permitting the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to her legal team.

“There’s still a lot to come to the light of day regarding Red Fawn’s case,” team member Bruce Ellison told the Native Sun News Today.

A North Dakota judge sentenced Red Fawn on July 11, 2018, to 57 months in prison, stemming from a bargain to plead guilty to one count of civil disorder and another of arms and ammunition possession. The charges date to an October 27, 2016 officer-involved weapons discharge during the mass arrest of 142 pipeline resisters who call themselves water protectors.

Ellison sustains that she is a survivor of an orchestrated joint corporate-government operation casting the water protectors as armed extremists to justify their removal from spirit camps set up to foil private pipeline construction across the Missouri River that violates treaty rights and threatens contamination of downstream drinking water.

“By Oct. 27, they had already arrested at least 140 people, and they arrested another 140 more that day. None of them had firearms,” he said.

Red Fawn Fallis is seen behind a security 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

The arrests were among more than 800 that took place as part of a seven-month militarized police operation launched Aug. 10, 2016, under the unauthorized supervision of Afghan and Iraq War military intelligence and counter-insurgency surveillance contractor TigerSwan, at the behest of Fortune 500 pipeline construction parent company Energy Transfer Partners.

Testimony and court documents showed security contractors and law enforcement officers walking through camps never snapped a picture of a gun among campers until FBI informant Heath Harmon planted a firearm registered to him in the pocket of a jacket he put on Red Fawn minutes before her arrest.

It was the weapon recovered at the arrest scene where three shots from it bit the dust between her legs as officers pushed and held her head and body to the ground while struggling to cuff her hands behind her back, according to the proceedings.

Harmon testified that Red Fawn was his ticket to get into the camps, which the FBI paid him to infiltrate. As she was grieving the recent deaths of her mother and grandmother, she was vulnerable to his advances and became romantically involved, her sister Red Dawn Foster told the judge.

“It stinks from so many levels, beginning with the incredible abuse of this woman just so they could get a provocateur in and amongst water protectors,” Ellison commented. Red Fawn is trying to rise above her history as an abused child and partner in womanhood, “like too many native and other women from their respective communities,” he noted.

“It’s outrageous,” he said. “If she had wanted to go to trial, we would have filed a motion to find outrageous conduct, which is defined as something that shocks the conscience of the community.”

Native rights advocate Leonard Peltier, who like Red Fawn is an American Indian Movement constituent, used the outrageous conduct argument against the FBI but is still in prison on weapons charges dating to the movement’s 1973 armed occupation of Wounded Knee. Amnesty International considers Peltier the world’s leading political prisoner.

“The last thing Red Fawn wanted was to see anybody get hurt,” Ellison said. “I believe the evidence reasonably shows she was targeted for arrest that day to fuel the wet dreams promoted by law enforcement and other authorities.”

Her defense was successful in moving her trial venue from Bismarck to Fargo on the grounds that “government and corporations used news releases drafted by a sheriffs’ association-hired public-relations firm to create a climate of fear, distrust and disinformation that did result in violence against water protectors,” he said.

“What was being put out to the public and to minds open to the false inflammatory information war was that water protectors were armed and had guns in the camp,” he said.


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