[Pnews] Red Fawn Fallis - ​Infiltrated: No-DAPL activist hoodwinked by paid FBI informant, defense says

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 15 10:54:26 EST 2018


  ​Infiltrated: No-DAPL activist hoodwinked by paid FBI informant,
  defense says

by C.S. Hagen - January 11th, 2018

*FARGO* – Events leading up to the arrest of one of the Dakota Access 
Pipeline’s most prominent defendants played out like a game of bughouse 
chess. Little did an isolated pawn, Red Fawn Fallis, know of an apparent 
trap set for her near Standing Rock on October 27, 2016, the day police 
took over the northern 1851 Treaty Camp, according to her defense attorneys.

The state’s side, heavily armed, bolstered by a governor’s emergency 
declaration and taxpayers dollars, were short on time; the pipeline had 
a schedule to keep. Law enforcement turned their attention to potential 
leaders of the pipeline resistance. Early morning meetings began every 
Tuesday “so that battle rhythm should be protected with our state team,” 
according to emails from the Office of the Governor of North Dakota 
Communications Director Mike Nowatzki.

Battle rhythm is a military term, meant to describe the maintenance of 
synchronized activity and process among distributed “warfighters,” 
according to the Defense Technical Information Center.

Before Energy Transfer Partners hired the international private security 
firm TigerSwan, local law enforcement repeatedly retreated from the 
front lines. Pressure from politicians financially supported by big oil 
lobbyists mounted, and the state requested federal help.

After TigerSwan’s arrival, however, the tempo shifted, and the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation sent one known infiltrator into the camps.

The infiltrator, Heath Harmon, a 46-year-old Fort Berthold Reservation 
member, befriended and seduced Fallis, according to a December 29, 2017 
Motion to Compel Discovery filed by defense attorneys. The relationship 
continued for an unspecified time after Fallis was arrested for 
allegedly shooting a handgun – a weapon that did not belong to her, but 
to the infiltrator, who will be paid $40 per day to testify against his 
former lover on and after January 29, when Fallis’s case goes to trial 
at Fargo’s Quentin N. Burdick U.S. Courthouse.

Fallis was considered a potential leader by law enforcement in the 
resistance camps against the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to the 
defense’s Motion to Compel Discovery, and her identity was placed into a 
“link chart” prepared by the North Dakota and Local Intelligence Center.

Out of the hundreds that begrudgingly gave way before the law 
enforcement blitz on the northern Treaty Camp, she was targeted and 
tackled by a deputy named Thadius Schmit. Two shots rang out, according 
to affidavits; other video reports state three. One bullet struck the 
ground near an officer’s knee, and the authorities say a handgun was 
pried from her hand.

Checkmate, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of North 
Dakota is preparing to argue.

Not so fast, Fallis’ defense attorneys say. The 37-year-old Oglala Sioux 
woman was caught up in a scheme to take her off the playing field, and 
the prosecution is attempting to prove she was someone who could cause 
serious disadvantages to DAPL’s agenda.

She was arrested with the informant’s loaded handgun. Fallis’s defense 
team has asked the federal government for all information related to the 
informant for nearly a year, but the federal government dallied, waiting 
months before handing some information over, according to the defense.

Due to the lateness of incoming information, Fallis’ defense team also 
asked four times for a continuance, but was denied.

In the United State’s Response to Defendant’s Motion to Compel 
Discovery, filed on December 20, 2017, prosecutors believe they have 
given over enough information, and they were not compelled to turn over 
surveillance gathered by TigerSwan or other private security firms 
because “Private security contractors have not participated in the 
criminal investigation of this matter.”

Defense attorneys fired back with a Defendant’s Reply to Government’s 
Response to Motion to Compel Discovery.

“The FBI recruited, supervised, and paid a specific informant to 
infiltrate the camps of protesters near Standing Rock,” the motion, 
which was compiled by Fallis’s attorneys, Bruce Ellison, Jessie A. Cook, 
and Molly Armour, stated. “During his employment by the FBI, this 
particular informant seduced Ms. Fallis and initiated an intimate, 
albeit duplicitous relationship with her. He spent the majority of the 
48-hour period prior to Ms. Fallis’s arrest with her and had access to 
her and her belongings… He used their romantic relationship to rely upon 
her as an unwitting source of information for informant activities.”

Harmon regularly reported to the FBI, according to unclassified FBI 
documents revealed by the defense.

“He was instructed to collect information on potential violence, 
weapons, and criminal activity. This informant’s work was considered so 
valuable that his FBI handlers recommended additional compensation for 
him to be ‘motivated for future tasking.’”

Harmon was ordered to spy on specific people in the camps, but never 
uncovered plans for violence, including firearms, explosives, or 
fireworks, and insisted that activists involved in the resistance were 
nonviolent, according to a defense’s motion.

Harmon, however, may not have been the only infiltrator; he’s simply the 
only person known by name, so far. Others were embedded in the camps, 
according to the testimony. Informants gave briefings to law enforcement 
about what they had witnessed.

A November 5, 2016 TigerSwan situational report also stated in an 
executive summary that documents obtained at a resistance camp showed 
activists were evolving, getting training from within and outside North 
Dakota, and that /Earth First/ magazines had been discovered, which 
TigerSwan stated promoted violent activities.

 From the onset, one of TigerSwan’s goals was to create dissension 
within the camps, according to emails and information obtained by /The 
Intercept/. TigerSwan analysts described a sense of urgency in 
attempting to obtain information, which was at best difficult, according 
to a September 22, 2016 informational report from TigerSwan.

“DAPL security workers were present amongst protesters, participated in 
arrests, and in at least one case, possessed liquid accelerant and a 
firearm while dressed as a protester,” according to a defense motion. 
“The identity and reports of other undercover security operatives, 
possibly including the informant boyfriend, have not been disclosed.”

The defense attorneys maintain that Harmon continued his relationship 
with Fallis until shortly after her arrest.

“He was present and witnessed her seizure. The ammunition and the 
firearm she is accused of possessing and discharging following that 
seizure are the property of the same informant who, admittedly, made a 
series of false statements regarding his knowledge and involvement in 
the incident to various law enforcement agencies.”

*“Fishing expedition”
*TigerSwan operatives may not be participating in criminal 
investigations today, but they did work closely and help organize law 
enforcement responses, according to Cass County Sheriff’s Department 
information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act 

The private security firm was also paid to gather information for what 
would become a “sprawling conspiracy lawsuit accusing environmentalist 
groups of inciting the anti-pipeline protests in an effort to increase 
donations,” according to leaked documents and FOIA information obtained 
by /The Intercept/ 

“Law enforcement agencies certainly communicated with private security 
agencies during the DAPL protests,” the federal government replied. 
“However, much of the defendant’s overbroad discovery requests are 
fishing expeditions.”

The defense argues that videos and documents they have received from the 
prosecution, namely United States Attorney Christopher C. Myers and 
Assistant United States Attorney David D. Hagler, are vastly incomplete, 
and that some videos from body cams and GoPros have had sections deleted 
or have been tampered with.

Hundreds of videos exist from the months-long controversy, but only one 
– taken from a distant drone – was taken during Fallis’s arrest, 
according to prosecutors.

“Due to the high volume of videos on October 27, 2016, law enforcement 
officials did not create a record of which officer created the 
particular videos,” the federal government said in their response. 
“Also, most of the videos do not contain a timestamp reflecting the time 
they were recorded.

“After, an exhaustive review of all the videos, no law enforcement 
videos (other than the drone video offered by the United States) has 
been located that depict the defendant’s conduct preceding the shooting 

The defense responded with another motion nine days later, arguing that 
all pertinent information from all the agencies, public and private, 
involved in intelligence gathering should be handed over, as per U.S. 
Supreme Court precedent under the Brady motion.

A Brady motion is a defendant's request for evidence concerning a 
material witness, which is favorable to the defense and to which the 
defense may be entitled, according to US Legal Definitions. Favorable 
evidence includes not only evidence that tends to exculpate the accused, 
but also evidence that may impeach the credibility of a government witness.

“The government acknowledges communication between law enforcement and 
private security entities, but asserts that DAPL security contractors 
are not part of the prosecution team, and that the prosecution does not 
possess records of any private security contractors.

Assuming DAPL security contractors are not members of the prosecution 
team, the government ignores that many of the requests for DAPL 
security-related information are in the possession of cooperating law 
enforcement agents.”

As at the Wounded Knee trials in the 1970s, the federal government has 
also failed to prove that officers involved were “lawfully engaged in 
the lawful performance” of their duties, the defense argued.

“Prosecutors have a general duty to learn and disclose evidence known by 
investigating police officers,” the defense’s motion stated. “The 
defendant is entitled to argue to the jury that law enforcement’s 
relationship to illegally operating DAPL security entities rendered 
their October 27, 2016 operation unlawful, or at the very least, not 
lawful beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In an October 17, 2016 corporate-sensitive DAPL security report, which 
includes TigerSwan, the Russell Group of Texas, SRC, Leighton Security 
Services, and 10Code LLC, all videographers and photographers were to 
provide “immediate playback to further the LEO [law enforcement 
officers] investigation.”

“The purpose is to collect evidentiary photographic and video evidence,” 
the report stated. “Purpose: collect information that is relative and 
timely to tactical situation on the ground and supports the pipeline 
effort and supports law enforcement efforts for prosecution of 
violations of right-of-way and equipment sanctity, as well as any 
assaults on pipeline personnel.”

As early as September 7, 2016, days after TigerSwan had arrived, Morton 
County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier and Bureau of Criminal Investigation 
officials received requests from the North Dakota Private Investigation 
and Security Board (NDPISB) to “investigate possible criminal activity 
in the form of unlicensed individuals providing security services at the 
Dakota Access construction site,” the defense argued.

In June of last year, the NDPISB sued 
TigerSwan as the “fusion leader” of private security organizations also 
named in the civil suit; and the company’s founder, James Reese, for 
operating illegally in North Dakota.

“The board is in the process of a civil action against TigerSwan, and 
that I believe is out for service. The board does have civil authority 
to initiate either administrative actions or civil actions under the 
Century Code,” Monte Rogneby, attorney for Vogel Law Firm and the 
NDPISB, said in June. The civil suit is slated for October 8 this year.

TigerSwan was hired by Energy Transfer Partners because the “Dakota 
Access Pipeline has been halted as a result of active protests against 
construction of the pipeline,” the NDPISB civil suit against TigerSwan 
and others stated. “On information and belief, these protests resulted 
in the hiring of TigerSwan.”

But instead of policing the “criminal operation of TigerSwan and other 
unlicensed private security entities, law enforcement and the U.S. 
Attorney’s Office collaborated with TigerSwan,” Fallis’s defense 
attorneys stated.

Among other investigative and intelligence gathering tactics, “TigerSwan 
placed or attempted to place undercover private security agents within 
the protest group to carry out investigative and surveillance activities 
against these groups on behalf of Energy Transfer Partners and others,” 
the NDPISB civil suit stated.

In addition, TigerSwan hired Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser as the 
DAPL operations local deputy unified commander, according to defense 

National security Intelligence Specialist Terry W. Van Horn of the U.S. 
Attorney’s Office used DAPL security footage to identify people for 
arrests later, according to the defense’s motion.

“For DAPL criminal investigations, Mr. Van Horn is involved in precisely 
the type of ‘joint investigation’ and ‘sharing] [of] labor and 
resources,” the defense argued. “Mr. Van Horn at times directed 
DAPL-related intelligence gathering by state officials; was a part of a 
sustained joint investigative effort involving numerous local, state and 
federal law enforcement agencies; and had ready access to law 
enforcement-generated materials as well as real-time evidence generated 
by private security entities.”

DAPL security’s relationship to law enforcement embodies joint activity, 
the defense argued.

“DAPL security agents assisted with arrests, provided contemporaneous 
information in the form of live feeds and other intelligence gathered to 
‘aid in prosecution,’ received information in return, procured 
military-grade equipment for October 27, and even employed a sheriff 
prominent in law enforcement’s DAPL-related command structure…”

When TigerSwan began operations in North Dakota, it first denied its 
role as a fusion leader on or before September 23, 2016. Later, multiple 
requests for cooperation and information were mostly ignored, according 
to the NDPISB civil suit. More than two months after TigerSwan’s 
arrival, it submitted an application for working in North Dakota, but 
the application was denied because if failed to provide positive 
criminal history for its founder, Reese.

In January 2017, TigerSwan’s application was rejected again, but the 
security firm never stopped working in North Dakota, the NDPISB reported.

“Morton County, BCI, and other law enforcement agencies ignored an 
explicit request made by the NDPISB to ensure private security operators 
were operating legally and instead initiated a sustained relationship of 
collaboration with these illegally-operating security companies,” 
Fallis’s defense attorneys stated in the Motion to Compel Discovery.

Under North Dakota law, officers who collaborated with TigerSwan may be 
accomplices to the misdemeanor violation of unlicensed operation, the 
defense stated.

*Red Fawn’s arrest
*Fallis was assumed guilty by many before the ink dried on her arrest 
report. She spent a year in jail without bond. Morton County Sheriff’s 
Department press releases were sent far and wide, with more than 140 
reportedly arrested on October 27, 2016. Many pipeline supporters 
pointed to the incident to ridicule the entire resistance movement 
outside of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, which at one time became 
the tenth largest community in the state.An October 28, 2016 affidavit 
conducted by Special Agent Joseph Arenz of the North Dakota Bureau of 
Criminal Investigation stated that Pennington County deputies Thaddeus 
Schmit and Rusty Schmidt were moving activists, known as water 
protectors, south along Highway 1806, when they identified Fallis as an 

“On October 27, 2016 deputies with the Pennington County, South Dakota 
Sheriff’s Department were in Morton County, North Dakota assisting with 
law enforcement functions for the Dakota Access Pipeline protest,” the 
affidavit stated. “An operational plan had been made which was going to 
consist of law enforcement removing individuals who had set up a camp on 
private land owned by DAPL, on the east side of Highway 1806 where the 
pipeline was supposed to be laid.”

When Fallis walked away from the crowd that day, Schmit and Schmidt 
“took her to the ground” and attempted to flex handcuff her. Lying face 
down, two heavily armed deputies manhandling her, Schmit heard two quick 
gunshots <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7Ahgkhf86g>, and Schmidt 
noticed the ground near his knee “explode,” the affidavit stated.

Schmit then lunged towards Fallis’ left hand and with the help of other 
officers, pulled the handgun away before handcuffing her.

Standing at five feet three inches tall, and weighing approximately 125 
pounds, Fallis would have been an easy tackle for two well-trained 
sheriff deputies.

Neither deputy saw a gun when they took Fallis to the ground, and 
believe she was able to retrieve the weapon when Schmit stopped pulling 
on her left arm, the affidavit stated.

“Once Red Fawn Fallis was in custody, officers found a small amount of 
what they believed to be marijuana in Red Fawn Fallis’ left and right 
pants pockets and also metal knuckles in the backpack that Red Fawn 
Fallis was carrying,” the affidavit stated.

While being transported to the Morton County Detention Center, police 
said Fallis told them she was trying to pull the gun out of her pocket 
and was jumped, making the gun go off.

“Red Fawn Fallis also made the statement to Probation and Parole that 
they are lucky she didn’t shoot ‘all of you f*ckers,’” according to the 

A Facebook page supporting Fallis called Free Red Fawn 
<https://www.facebook.com/FreeRedFawn/> stated that Fallis was 
retreating from the front lines when she was tackled.

“Police reports allege that one of the officers pulled his weapon and 
placed it against her back,” the post stated. “While she was pinned to 
the ground, shots were fired. She is accused of firing a weapon. 
Eyewitness accounts and video show otherwise.”

Originally, Fallis was charged with attempted murder, preventing arrest, 
carrying a concealed firearm, and possession of marijuana. The charges 
were dropped by the state a month later, but were moved to federal 
court. On January 29, Fallis will begin court proceedings charged with 
engaging in civil disorder, discharging a firearm in relation to a 
felony crime of violence, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a 
convicted felon, which if found guilty carries a minimum sentence of 10 
years and the potential of life imprisonment.

*Red Fawn
*Today, Fallis resides in a halfway house in Fargo. She has access to a 
mobile phone and can chat online, but heeding caution from her lawyers, 
refused interview requests.

Fallis, and her supporters, say she is a political prisoner of a war 
that has lasted more than 500 years.

“The U.S. government is engaged in tactics of lies, and rumor, and paid 
informants in an attempt to put our sister, daughter, auntie, water 
protector, and friend in prison,” a post from the Free Red Fawn Facebook 
page stated.

“But she can’t wait to get her story out,” Cempoali Twenny, an activist 
who stayed at the Standing Rock camps and is Fallis’ friend said. 
“They’ve already convicted her, and painted her as someone who is 
violent. She is a good-hearted person, she’s been in this whole thing 
for a year now, and she’s been having a hard time, but she’s operating 
from the truth, and she has nothing to hide.”

While at the camps, Fallis worked primarily as a medic, pulling injured 
people from the front lines, dowsing faces burning from pepper spray 
with milk of magnesia, and easing the pain of those hit with rubber bullets.

“People are holding her up as a hero, because she is one of the water 
protectors that has been targeted, and they’re using her as an excuse to 
prove to themselves, to make sure something goes through. We don’t want 
that to happen to her.”

Fallis also worked with youth, as an older sister, Twenny said.

“There were no leaders there, there were never any leaders there,” 
Twenny said. “Our leader was the water, and the fire that kept us in 
peace and in harmony.”

Fallis is the daughter of Troylynn YellowWood, an activist who 
helped block the Columbus Day Parade in Denver, Colorado in 2004, 
according to the American Indian Genocide Museum. YellowWood was also a 
member of the American Indian Movement, and in the 1970s gave safe house 
to Annie Mae Aquash in her Denver home, according to February 2004 
testimony in the trial of Arlo Looking Cloud.

YellowWood passed away in June 2016, four months before her daughter was 

Fallis has a prior record from 14 years ago, and served 30 months of 
probation in Denver after pleading guilty. She is the only woman and one 
of six Native Americans facing charges in federal court from the Dakota 
Access Pipeline controversy, according to the Water Protector Legal 
Collective. Federal charges against five men stemmed from information 
obtained by Energy Transfer Partners’ security teams, according to an 
affidavit filed by ATF Special Agent Derek Hill.

*Dion Ortiz*, 21, was being held at the Sandoval County Detention Center 
in New Mexico on federal charges of civil disorder and the use of fire 
to commit a federal crime. His request to be released to a halfway house 
was granted on December 7, 2017.

*Michael Giron*, known as Little Feather, is from the Coastal Band of 
the Chumash Nation and was raised in Santa Barbara, California. He has 
been incarcerated without bond since March 9, 2017 on two federal 
charges of civil disorder and using fire to commit a federal felony 
offense arising from October 27, 2016. His trial is set for April 10, 
2018, in Bismarck. Little Feather faces up to 15 years in prison if 
proven guilty.

*Brennon J. Nastacio*, 36, commonly known as “Bravo One,” is a Pueblo 
Native American, and was indicted on February 8, 2017 for civil disorder 
and the use of fire to commit a federal crime on October 27, 2016. 
Nastacio was also charged by the state with felony terrorism after he 
helped disarm Kyle Thompson 
a former employee of Leighton Security Services under the TigerSwan 
fusion lead. The state’s charges were dropped in July 2017.

*James “Angry Bird” White*, 52, a veteran and from the Cheyenne River 
Sioux Tribe, worked security in the Standing Rock camps. He too faces 
federal charges and was arrested in January 2017.

*Michael “Rattler” Markus*, from Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation, is on 
supervised release after being held for nearly two months at the Heart 
of America Correction Center in Rugby, North Dakota.

On December 4, 2017, Fallis made a public statement on the Red Fawn 
Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/FreeRedFawn/posts/351157825355919> page.

“I remember the last time I had the opportunity to go with my Ina (mom) 
to express our support and solidarity for our Cheyenne relatives whose 
families were murdered in the Sand Creek Massacre,” Fallis wrote. “We 
went to the Capitol in downtown Denver and on our way there she reminded 
me that no matter what we are doing in our own lives, we must always 
take time and make an effort to go to gatherings like this to show 
support because no matter how much time has passed, the importance of 
honoring and remembrance is crucial to the healing process and as Lakota 
people we must always remember our relatives.”

Her mother was an influence in her life, she stated.

“We all share the same history in one way or another so we must open our 
hearts in order to love and encourage each other and continue to help 
each other heal. I added a picture of us at the Capitol that day and 
even though my Ina was very ill and battling cancer she was there, 
smiling and offering her heart and love to our relatives who were there 
to honor the memory of so many who died at the hands of hate, racism, 
greed, and the American government.

“I am grateful for the lessons and teachings she handed down to myself 
and so many others because at camp I was able to go to the youth and 
build a great bond with them as I admired the work they started in a 
prayerful way to Protect Mni Sosa from the Dakota Access Pipeline and 
the big oil companies. I love them and my heart feels good when I 
remember the times we spent and the talks we had. I also remember the 
strength in their hearts and their prayers and the fire in their eyes, I 
am thankful for each and every one of them.”

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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