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New federal charges filed against protester accused of shooting during arrest

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Dakota Access Pipeline protesters chant "Free Red Fawn" as they march around the block of the Morton County-Mandan Law Enforcement Center and Morton County Courthouse in Mandan in November. Red Fawn Fallis is charged with felony counts of civil disorder and discharging a firearm in relation to a felony crime of violence — which, in this case, is civil disorder, an uncommon charge in federal court. She is also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 

More federal charges have been filed against a pipeline protester accused of shooting toward law enforcement officers in October. 

Red Fawn Fallis, 37, of Colorado, allegedly fired a gun while being arrested during a police raid of the northern "front line" Dakota Access Pipeline camp Oct. 27.

An indictment filed Jan. 5 charges her with felony counts of civil disorder and discharging a firearm in relation to a felony crime of violence -- which, in this case, is civil disorder. These charges are in addition to an earlier charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 

Fallis pleaded not guilty to all charges Monday morning. A three-day trial was scheduled for March 7 with U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland in Bismarck.

If convicted of discharging the firearm, Fallis faces a minimum of 10 years in prison. 

Federal public defender Neil Fulton, whose office is defending Fallis, said he has never seen a felony civil disorder charge in federal court.

"I don't think it's terribly common, but it exists on the books," he said. 

During a December preliminary hearing for Fallis on the firearm possession charge, a federal agent said she fired three shots from a gun in her left hand while officers tried to subdue her. She was being arrested because she was acting as an instigator, according to Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent Derek Hill.

In addition, Hill stated that law enforcement found three spent casings in a revolver allegedly possessed by Fallis and two speed strips with six live rounds in each of her pockets. Fallis has a prior felony conviction for being an accessory to a crime in Colorado, Hill testified.

The gun allegedly involved was a .38-caliber Ruger revolver. A complaint filed in the case said a boyfriend of Fallis' reported the same type of gun missing on Oct. 28.

Fallis' case has drawn national attention, spawning a "Free Red Fawn" movement. A website started for her says she was working as a medic on Oct. 27, and while she was being arrested, "one officer pulled his weapon and placed it against her back. While she was pinned to the ground, shots were fired."

Her cause has been endorsed by actors Jane Fonda and Mark Ruffalo, and an online fundraiser has solicited more than $57,000 on her behalf. 

Magistrate Judge Charles Miller asked Fallis on Dec. 12 to fill out a financial affidavit relating to funds raised online, with the idea being that she may need to repay some of her public defense costs. No such affidavit has been filed in the public records system.

Fulton said his office is working with Fallis and investigating the case, which may be delayed from its March trial date. 

"What's next will depend on what we find," Fulton said. 

Reach Caroline Grueskin at 701-250-8225 or at


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