Red Fawn Fallis was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison Wednesday for possession of a firearm and civil disorder during the Dakota Access pipeline protests. She is now the second water protector sentenced in relation to the DAPL pipeline resistance at Standing Rock.
Regarding Fallis’ two charges -- Civil Disorder and Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition by a Convicted Felon -- Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of no more than seven years in prison; Judge Daniel L. Hovland had the authority to go as high as 10 years.
Hovland sentenced Red Fawn Fallis to 18 months on the Civil Disorder charge and to a concurrent term of 57 months on the Possession charge, with three years of federal supervision to follow, and a $100 assessment fine for each charge.
Red Fawn has been incarcerated since October 26, 2016, as well as having spent time at a halfway house. She will receive credit for time served when she was incarcerated but not for her time at the halfway house due to a violation. The judge recommended that she be remanded to a federal prison in Phoenix or Tucson where she would not be isolated from other Native American women. She could be released from prison as early as July 2020 with an additional six months spent in a halfway house.
“The sentence imposed today reflects the judge’s recognition of her case as unique and complicated by a lot of factors. He listened to the testimony in court, read the transcripts of prior hearings and read the legal memoranda filed by the parties,” said Red Fawn’s attorney Bruce Ellison in a release.
“The sentence landed in between what we recommended and what the government urged. In a sensitive matter like this the judge has pretty much unlimited discretion and seemed to try and figure out what in his mind made sense,” he said. “It could certainly have been much worse. The FBI will never be held accountable for abusing this woman by sending a person in to gain access to the camp, feigning a romantic interest, manipulating her family into thinking it was real at the same time telling the people that they should feel afraid of corporate security. But they were the ones bringing in the guns.”
Red Fawn’s uncle Glenn T. Morris, who is a professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado at Denver said in the release:
“Justice was not done today. If justice had been done the real criminals—DAPL, Tiger Swan, the FBI and Morton County Sheriff's Department—would be the ones going to jail for invading our prayer camp and hurting our niece, sister and Auntie Red Fawn. We, her family, friends and supporters, are the ones who will bring justice to Red Fawn by supporting her and being with her every day, week and month of her incarceration, no matter where it is. We are the ones who will be restoring her, and she will restore us when we welcome her back to our family and community in Denver on the day of her release.”
Red Fawn Fallis is Oglala Lakota Sioux, and was raised in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and Colorado.
According to the Water Protector Legal Collective, “During the Standing Rock encampments, Red Dawn was well-known and respected for her work with youth and as a medic as well as for her deep commitment to her people and to protecting the water. During the hearing today two expert witnesses provided testimony on the physiology of what is known in firearms training as “unintended discharge of a firearm” and on the psychology and impact of childhood trauma and intergenerational/historical trauma; two family members spoke passionately about how valued and missed Red Fawn is by her family and community, her personal growth in the 20 months since her arrest, and the educational and employment opportunities that her community is committed to help provide upon her release.”
“Water Protector Legal Collective stands by Red Fawn and we call on Water Protectors and community members to continue to support her through this difficult time. Please follow her Support Committee website for information on how to write to her and be in solidarity with her as she serves her prison time.”
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