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Court Update: November 17, 2017

Motions Argued on Behalf of Water Protector

WPLC was back in court today in Morton County arguing six motions on behalf of one of the water protectors arrested on October 17, 2016.

Three different police officers have claimed that they were the one that arrested this water protector, at three different times spanning two hours, and at two different locations a mile apart. All three officers charged him with different charges.

Although not the outright dismissal we had hoped for, the Court’s orders today can only be viewed as a victory.:

- The state must articulate specific facts alleging the specific acts of this water protector which gave law enforcement probable cause to arrest him.
- The state is required to produce witnesses for their depositions, after three previous unsuccessful attempts by the defense to take their depositions.
- Requiring that the arresting officer answer interrogatories.
- Evidence admitted at trial must be limited to establishing the actions of this water protector and cannot be extraneous to the events of 10/27/16 that led to his arrest.

The Court reserved ruling on most of the defense’s motions in limine. Trial is scheduled for 1/23/18 at the Morton County Courthouse.

More details on today’s motions our website:


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Water Protector Legal Collective shared Makwa Initiative - Line 3 Frontline Resistance's Line 3 Construction Site 378 Shut Down. ...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 15th 2017 Contact: Campmakwaline3frontlinecamp@gmail.com Water Protectors Shut Down Wisconsin Line 3 Construction and Warn Enbridge to “Stay Out of Minnesota” Early Wednesday morning water protectors from Camp Makwa stormed an Enbridge construction site, and delayed progress on the last unfinished Wisconsin segment of their proposed line 3 pipeline project. One individual from the Diné Nation descended into the muddy trench, climbed onto the pipe, and locked himself to welding equipment. A Leech Lake Tribal member then climbed atop an excavator and attached himself to a hydraulic arm. Construction was halted for approximately six hours, costing the company thousands of dollars, as the individuals put their bodies on the line to protect the water and the futures of their children. Later in the day two more water protectors were arrested, while standing on the side of the public road. They were both tackled to the ground by Sergeant Kirchhoff of the Superior Police Department. For one of the arrests, when asked on what grounds he was acting, officer Kirchhoff cited a warrant that he could not produce. Later investigation found that the warrant he cited was unsigned and improperly filed. Last Week Sergeant Kirchhoff received media attention for tackling a woman to the ground without warning at a similar protest. The woman's charges were later dropped. The Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project is estimated to carry almost one million barrels of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin; Enbridge has received approval in Wisconsin, but has not received approval in Minnesota, which would be the largest segment of the proposed project. The non-violent direct action came after a week of evidentiary hearings in Minnesota, where Enbridge revealed that it had already paid for 100% of the pipe for the project. The same day as the action it was discovered that before her time in public office Judge Ann C O’Reilly, the individual in charge of holding public hearings on the Line 3 Project, worked for a firm that represented oil companies on multiple occasions. One water protector stated “Enbridge doesn’t have their permits for Minnesota and they have already started chopping trees down for their easement and filling its pipe storage yards. We went to the public hearings and found them full to the brim with Enbridge employees who were paid to be there. We fought again and again just to have 3 minutes to speak. Now we watch as truck after truck come into our communities carrying pipes and out of state pipeline workers. We made our comments, but they didn’t listen. The project is already bringing violence to our land and our women and children. We know that with these man camps comes increased levels of drugs, rape, and missing and murdered indigenous women. Enbridge will not take no for an answer so we have to stop them. We want to make clear in no uncertain terms, Enbridge is not welcome in Minnesota.” Donate to Camp Makwa- Camp Supplies: youcaring.com/makwacampsupplies Legal Fund: youcaring.com/makwalegal #waterislife #stopline3 #noline3 #wildriceislife #keepitintheground #lovewaternotoil #honorthetreaties #defendthesacred

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Court Update: November 14, 2017

More Dismissals for Water Protectors

Three Water Protectors arrested on October 10, 2016 appeared in Morton County Criminal Court before Judge Haskell yesterday, November 13th, for a hearing on their attorneys’ motions to dismiss for want of probable cause. They were arrested while praying on an unmarked construction site, on a federal holiday during which no construction was occurring, no workers were present, and no landowner objected to their presence.

Two identical cases were dismissed by Judge Haskell on October 17, 2017 after a finding that the State’s Attorney could not prove the existence of a valid government function with which the Water Protectors could have been interfering at the time of their arrest. After brief arguments, consistent with his previous ruling, Judge Haskell dismissed the three cases yesterday finding that since he could not find a valid government function with which they had interfered, their arrests were without probable cause.

Police are forbidden by the Fourth Amendment from entering onto private land without an independent basis for doing so. This independent basis may be their reasonable belief that a criminal offense is occurring. In these cases, the state first charged the Water Protectors with Trespass and Riot, but dismissed those charges, and re-charged then with physical obstruction of a government function. The government function they claim was obstructed was their clearing of people from the work-site. They argued that the Water Protectors were trespassing, and needed to be removed from the land, but there was no clear no trespass posting, no fencing clearly intended to exclude people from the land, and no explicit request of the landowner that police remove people.

“I crossed a fence line while hunting last weekend,” Judge Haskell said. “Does that give the police the right to arrest me?”

Three cases stemming from the same set of facts remain scheduled for trial. At this time the office of the State's Attorney does appear to be pursuing them.

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Legal Update for the week of October 30th:
This week two Water Protectors had their charges dropped from Indigenous Peoples' Day, October 10th, 2016, after having their initial charges dropped in May just to be immediately recharged. Congratulations to these Water Protectors for beating their cases!

Alex Simon was released from custody on October 31st after serving 12 days in custody; Mary Redway was released last week after serving 4 days.

Last Friday, on the one year anniversary of her being taken into custody, Red Fawn Fallis was released to a halfway house in Fargo North Dakota. If convicted, Red Fawn could be sentenced to 25 years to life for fighting for Indigenous rights and protecting the Water. Her Support and Legal teams are still in need of help, please follow link below and donate!


Little Feather has been incarcerated for nearly over 9 months pre-trial awaiting federal felony charges. He asks supporters write him letters and put money on his commissary so he is able to cover basic needs like tooth paste as well as staying in touch with his loved ones as he await trial.
Here are instructions on how to donate to his commissary:

Address to Write Letters:
"Michael Giron
Heart of America Corrections
110 Industrial road
Rugby, ND 58368"

Dion Ortiz has been incarcerated for nearly a month now related to federal felony charges resulting from the grand jury earlier this year. We are still figuring out what kind of support Dion prefers, but for now here is his address to write him letters of support.

"Dion Ortiz
Sandoval County Jail
1100 Montoya Road
Bernalillo, NM 87004"

Summary of State Cases:
--311 dismissals/acquittals
--24 Pre Trial Diversions, including 2 felonies

107 Plea deals;
Including 8 Felonies closed as Misdemeanors with one year deferred sentencing

14 Guilty Convictions
-- first two sentencing that resulted in jail time.

--109 warrant or inactive cases.

--1 case is on appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court

-- 258 Open cases, calendared from now until July 2018;



Photo Credit: Rob Wilson Photography

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BREAKING: U.S. Bank has stopped financing Enbridge and its proposed Line 3 pipeline. They had been a part of extending a multi-bank $1.3 billion line of credit to Enbridge that was not set to expire until late 2019 and are no longer listed as a funder.
U.S. Bank is on the right side of history with this move away from dangerous projects threatening Minnesotans' choice to protect our pristine water, climate and communities and respect native treaty rights.
Makwa Initiative - Line 3 Frontline Resistance

BREAKING: U.S. Bank has stopped financing Enbridge and its proposed Line 3 pipeline. They had been a part of extending a multi-bank $1.3 billion line of credit to Enbridge that was not set to expire until late 2019 and are no longer listed as a funder. U.S. Bank is on the right side of history with this move away from dangerous projects threatening Minnesotans' choice to protect our pristine water, climate and communities and respect native treaty rights. More info and press release from Honor the Earth and MN350: www.mn350.org/us-bank-is-no-longer-financing-enbridge/ www.ran.org/funding_tar_sands #StopLine3 #DivestTheGlobe

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Water Protector Alexander Simon Released From Jail

This was the scene at Morton County Detention Center today as Alexander Simon (pictured center) was released. Welcome home Alex!

Alexander Simon and Mary Redway were the first two Water Protectors to be sentenced to jail time for first amendment activity at Standing Rock. Alex served 12 days and Mary served four days.

By imposing jail time the judge departed from the State’s Attorney’s recommendations for suspended sentences.

Alex released a statement from jail that read in part:

“I was singled out among many who were unjustly arrested. It seems that Judge Thomas A. Merrick wanted to make an example of me, berating me because, in his opinion, I didn’t “have a dog in the fight.” He is mistaken and I am proud to help shoulder the burden in the fight for Indigenous Rights. If this is the price I must pay for Indigenous Peoples to pursue a path towards sovereignty, I am honored to do it.”

Mary was among the group that met Simon on his release today. She had the following to say:

“I firmly believe that the judge was sending a message when he found me guilty of Disorderly Conduct, sentenced me to six days in jail, and had me shackled right there in the court room like a scene from a bad movie. He wants to discourage allies from standing in solidarity with Standing Rock: If you dare to come here and protest, we will arrest you and throw you in jail. We do this even to 65-year-old white women who go on prayer walks."

Simon and Redway were arrested along with approximately 140 others on October 22, 2016. The vast majority of those cases have been dismissed for lack of evidence. The other Water Protectors who were tried together with Simon and Redway on October 18-19 were acquitted of all charges. All but two of the previous trials arising from that day have resulted in acquittals. The previous two convictions carried no jail time.

Nearly 400 Water Protectors are still awaiting trial in their state cases and six are preparing for federal felony trials. The first federal trial will be Red Fawn’s at the end of January, 2018.

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On October 27, 2017 - the anniversary date of her arrest - Red Fawn Fallis was released from the Stutsman County Jail to a half-way house in North Dakota. Red Fawn, a Lakota water protector originally from the Pine Ridge Reservation, is scheduled to stand trial in federal district court on January 29, 2018 on multiple charges stemming from her participation in the protests surrounding construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The path of the pipeline lay in close proximity to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and its water source and traversed lands of historic and cultural significance to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Red Fawn has plead Not Guilty to all charges. Her trial was recently moved from Bismarck to Fargo, North Dakota due to the publicity that has surrounded both the opposition to the construction of the pipeline and to Red Fawn’s arrest.

Red Fawn is well-known and respected for her role as a medic and community leader at the Oceti Sakowin camp during fall 2016.

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One year ago, roughly 150 people were arrested and charged initially with felony charges, Endangering By Fire or Explosion when law enforcement raided North Camp or Frontline 1851 Treaty Camp on October 27th, 2016.

One year ago today, Free RedFawn Fallis was taken into custody on state charges and while she awaited bail she was served with federal charges. Later on her state charges were dropped, however the charges she now faces could result in a sentencing of 25 years to life, if convicted. While she was granted the ability to be released to a halfway house in the summer and, finally, today she has been released to a halfway house.

In addition, Little Feather, a Water Protector who is also facing federal felony charges, has been held in custody since January without bond. While many of the other Water Protectors with federal charges have also faced barriers to be on release pretrial, including requiring a local Bismarck address, supervised probation with ankle monitors, travel restrictions, etc., Little Feather has been incarcerated longer than any other Water Protectors, with the exception of Red Fawn.

While 131 charges have been dismissed, 6 Water Protectors where immediately recharged with felonies. Even though there are only 11 Water Protectors from October 27th, 2016 with open or unresolved state cases, all seven of the federal felony charges related to Water Protector activity stem from this day.

It's expected Red Fawn's trial will be held in January 2018, followed by Little Feather, and then the rest of the federal co defendants.

Listed below are their support funds!
Venmo @Brennon-Nastacio


Free Rattler
Justice for Angry Bird
Justice for Brennon Nastacio

Police & Military Attack Oceti Sakowin Treaty Camp Morton County, ND – Over two hundred multi-state law enforcement and National Guard personnel attacked water protectors gathered on unceded 1851 Oceti Sakowin treaty land just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in the late morning of Thursday, October 27th. Donate to support our work: www.unicornriot.ninja/?page_id=211 Read More: www.unicornriot.ninja/?p=10476 For More LIKE Unicorn Riot

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#StopLine3 #NoLine3 #StopEnbridge #waterislife #WildRiceIsLife #Protectthesacred #Keepitintheground #Makwa #Sacredstonevilliage

We are proud to support our brothers and sisters of the Makwa Initiative - Line 3 Frontline Resistance. They are fighting an important battle as this is Enbridge's biggest pipeline yet, the mother of all pipelines. They are going to abandon the old pipeline and continue the destruction of our Mother Earth, animals, culture and water. We can not let them win, 5 tribes have said no to Line 3 going through their tribal lands and wild rice fields. Enbridge is bussing in its employees to public meetings to talk about how vital it is for the communities, this has to stop now. Makwa needs our support. Thanks to Sadie Marie and the amazing media warriors from Line 3 for contributing footage. We stand with you. SUPPLY LIST: docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kbQvEVszwVxzHvXK6p4XlJcCEXn1nC3CeaeejKyV0_U/edit?usp=sharing AMAZON WISHLIST: www.amazon.com/…/1OKTW6ZVB…/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_1 LEGAL FUND DONATION PAGE: www.youcaring.com/makwalegal CAMP SUPPLIES DONATION PAGE: www.youcaring.com/makwacampsupplies #StopLine3 #NoLine3 #StopEnbridge #waterislife #WildRiceIsLife #Protectthesacred #Keepitintheground #Makwa #Sacredstonevilliage 📷 Teena Pugliese

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November 8th Update:
Free RedFawn Red Fawn Fallis was released from custody to a halfway house in Fargo, North Dakota.
Mary Redway and Alex Simon have been released from custody;

this week the first Water Protectors were sentenced to jail by Judge Merrick in an unprecedented move. While Mary and Alex are the first water protectors to be sentenced to jail time, three other water protectors are currently incarcerated pretrial;

Red Fawn will be held in custody for one year beginning Oct 27th, the anniversary of the raid of north camp. She is looking at a mandatory minimum of 25 years to life.

Little Feather has been in custody for 7 months and is looking at 15 yr minimum.

Dion Ortiz has been in custody for three weeks, facing a mandatory 15 year minimum.

Write to these political prisoners who have fought to defend indigenous sovereignty, water and the land!

**when writing letters to incarcerated Water Protectors, remember:
--they still have open cases and all mail is read by Correctional Officers; do not put any information related to their case you wouldn't want the government to read or could affect someone's case!

-- Write the return address on the letter you send to folx; prisoners are not given the envelopes mail was sent in

#freeredfawn #nodapl #freelittlefeather

Currently there have been roughly:
over 300 dismissed and/or acquitted state cases
about 390 unresolved cases, including open cases scheduled through july and cases that are in warrant status

In addition to the three Water Protectors who are currently in custody for federal charges, there are still three other Water Protectors, who are all looking at 15 year minimum.

Now is imperative to be in touch with your attorney and at least one of the legal collectives on the ground supporting Water Protectors in their open cases.

Water Protector Legal Collective: (701) 566-9108 ; waterprotectorlegal.org/

Freshet Collective: 701.301.7511; freshetcollective.org

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Judge Merrick orders jail time for the first two Water Protectors convicted on state misdemeanor charges. Please write and visit these political prisoners, Alexander Simon and Mary Redway both at: 4000 Apple Creek Rd, Bismarck, ND 58504 - Burliegh Morton Combined Detention Center.

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www.facebook.com/lancasteragainstpipelines/videos/758510657674699/ ...

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