By Red Power Media, Staff | Nov 07, 2016
Red Fawn Fallis, was arrested along with 140 other protesters on Oct. 27, near the Standing Rocking Sioux reservation in North Dakota. When police closed in during a mass arrest to remove water protectors from private property, Fallis, allegedly pulled out a .38 revolver and fired at officers.
Fallis, a 37yr old, Native American woman from Denver, is being held at the Morton County jail on a $100,000 bond. Police claim she had a concealed gun and fired twice towards two Minnesota police officers, who were working at the Dakota Access pipeline protests.
Fallis, was formally charged with attempted murder of an officer on Oct 31.
The charge, could result in a 20-year prison sentence.
On Monday, her family spoke out for the first time since the incident.
According to the Denver Post, the family of Fallis said she didn’t have a gun and the officers, who considered her an instigator, unjustly targeted her for arrest.
“There is no evidence there was a gun,” said Glenn Morris, a leader in the American Indian Movement of Colorado, during a Monday morning news conference.
According to her arrest affidavit, the deputies were going to arrest Fallis because she was “being an instigator and acting disorderly.”
She struggled and they brought her to the ground. While they were trying to cuff her, two shots were fired. A deputy saw the gun in Fallis’ left hand and wrestled the gun away from her, according to the affidavit.
Fallis, an Oglala Lakota Sioux, is a American Indian Movement member with roots in the organization.
The family has a strong tradition of fighting for the rights of American Indians, Morris said.
Troy Lynn Yellow Wood, Fallis’ mother, was a member of the American Indian advocacy group AIM since the late 1970s and was at the group’s 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota.
Yellow Wood died a few weeks ago, said Loma Cleveland, Fallis’ younger sister.
Fallis has told her family not to worry because she is innocent, Cleveland said.
According to the Guardian, on Oct 22, when police arrested more than 120 people protesting against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, Lauren Howland, was caught in the middle of the violence and chaos, and suffered a broken wrist when, she said, an officer attacked her.
Fallis, known as a mother to many of the youth at the Standing Rock protest, “personally came back into the frontlines and wheeled us all out”, Howland, 21, recalled. “She’s a protector.”
Supporters said she made a point of reminding youth activists to stay “peaceful and prayerful” and never resort to violence. She had a four-wheeler vehicle and often helped rescue protesters who needed medical attention during police confrontations.
Howland and other youth protesters said they were devastated to find out a week later that local police had arrested Fallis and charged her with attempted murder.
“Red Fawn has continually supported the youth council since its inception and is responsible for personally rescuing many of our members from the front lines after being brutalized by police.” – International Indigenous Youth Council
Fallis has been involved in the fight against the oil pipeline, which would run beneath the Missouri river near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, since demonstrations began.
Members of the tribe say the pipeline’s construction would trample on sacred lands, destroy artifacts and potentially poison waterways, including the Missouri river and Lake Oahe.
Since an escalating series of recent clashes between law enforcement and water protectors, the Morton County sheriff’s office has held up the charges against Fallis, as an example of what it says is the violent and illegal behavior of Native American protesters.
To some pipeline protesters, who described Fallis as a passionate activist dedicated to peaceful tactics, her detention is the latest sign that North Dakota police are aggressively targeting a growing movement and will go to great lengths to protect a powerful corporation threatening sacred tribal lands.
On the same day the Morton County Sheriff’s Department announced the charges against Fallis, officials also stated Kyle Thompson, a contractor with the North Dakota Access pipeline company, would not face charges after being detained with an assault rifle.
Thompson was caught on video holding the rifle during an altercation with demonstrators.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said Thompson may have been the victim in the incident and an investigation is ongoing.
Fallis is the first demonstrator to be charged with an offense linked to the use of a firearm. In addition to the attempted murder charge, she is also facing one count of preventing arrest, a count of carrying a concealed weapon and a count of possession of marijuana.
Fallis’ family and supporters say the charges against her are false and she was picked out of a crowd because of her strong personality and opinions about water protection.
“They recognized her leadership as a young, indigenous woman who a lot of younger indigenous people looked to for example in leadership. So that identifies her as a target in their mind, I believe,”- Glenn Morris, AIM Colorado
On social media, many have supported Fallis with the hashtag #FreeRedFawn and some have compared her to Leonard Peltier, a native activist and former member of the American Indian Movement who was convicted of aiding in the killing of two FBI agents in 1975.
Red Fawn Fallis, remains in Morton County jail, as her family asks for support and, ultimately for her release.