An Activist Stands Accused of Firing a Gun at Standing Rock. It Belonged to Her Lover — an FBI Informant.
by Will Parrish, The Intercept,
As law enforcement officers advanced in a U-shaped sweep line down North Dakota Highway 1806 last October, pushing back Dakota Access opponents from a camp in the pipeline’s path, two sheriff’s deputies broke formation to tackle a 37-year-old Oglala Sioux woman named Red Fawn Fallis. As Fallis struggled under the weight of her arresting officers, who were attempting to put her in handcuffs, three gunshots allegedly went off alongside her. According to the arrest affidavit, deputies lunged toward her left hand and wrested a gun away from her.
Well before that moment, Fallis had been caught in a sprawling intelligence operation that sought to disrupt and discredit opponents of the pipeline. The Intercept has learned that the legal owner of the gun Fallis is alleged to have fired was a paid FBI informant named Heath Harmon, a 46-year-old member of the Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota. For at least two months, Harmon took part in the daily life of DAPL resistance camps and gained access to movement participants, even becoming Fallis’s romantic partner several weeks prior to the alleged shooting on October 27, 2016.
In an interview with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, a recording of which was obtained by The Intercept, Harmon reported that his work for the FBI involved monitoring the Standing Rock camps for evidence of “bomb-making materials, stuff like that.” Asked what he discovered, Harmon made no mention of protesters harboring dangerous weapons, but he acknowledged storing his own weapon in a trailer at the water protectors’ Rosebud Camp: the same .38 revolver Fallis is accused of firing.
Harmon spent the day of October 27 with Fallis and was nearby during her arrest. He continued to withhold his FBI affiliation from his then-girlfriend in phone conversations with her while she was being held at the Morton County jail in Mandan, North Dakota, records show. Investigators’ notes on those calls were distributed to the ATF, two local sheriff’s departments, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bismarck, among others.
Federal prosecutors are charging Fallis with civil disorder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and discharge of a firearm in relation to a felony crime of violence — perhaps the most serious charges levied against any water protector. If convicted of discharging the weapon, she faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and the possibility of a life sentence. She has pleaded not guilty.
Attorneys for Fallis argue their client was seized without probable cause while engaging in speech protected by the First Amendment, pointing to the account of one of her arresting officers that Fallis was shouting “water is life and you’re killing Mother Earth and stuff of that nature.” Drone footage appears to show her being tackled just minutes after arriving in the vicinity of the police line. In a hearing that concluded Monday, her lawyers challenged the admissibility of any property seized or statements Fallis made immediately after the incident, arguing they represent the products of an unconstitutional arrest. Defense attorneys declined to comment or make Fallis available for this story, citing her pending trial.
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Posted on December 12, 2017, in Counter-Insurgency, State Security Forces and tagged #FreeRedFawn, #NoDAPL, #StandingRock, Cointelpro, counter-insurgency, Dakota Access Pipeline, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Red Fawn Fallis. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.