Bismarck, ND – On March 3, Steve Martinez was jailed at the Burleigh County Detention Center after refusing to testify before a secret federal grand jury investigating 2016 protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Martinez is now finally free as of April 12, according to a statement posed to social media by the ‘Support Steve Martinez’ campaign. Martinez has served over 60 in days in federal detention. He was previously been jailed for most of February 2021 for refusing to testify, but was briefly released after a judge found the magistrate who ordered him detained did not have the authority to do so. In March 2017, a similar summons to for a grand jury in the same investigation was served to Martinez but eventually withdrawn by the court after he made it clear he would face jail rather than testify.
Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and an attorney with the Lakota People’s Law Project, describes the movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and his almost two-year fight against felony charges. His work to develop a necessity defense led to the uncovering of corruption and collusion between industry, law enforcement and government. Chase also gives his analysis of what the mobilization at Standing Rock means in the greater context of colonialism, capitalism and the absence of democracy.
Michael “Little Feather” Giron, a member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation, was sentenced to thirty-six months in federal prison this week. He is the first person to be sentenced to serious prison time for his role in the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Little Feather has already spent fifteen months of his life incarcerated – time which will be credited to him as part of the sentencing – but still faces at least eleven months in prison. His legal team hopes that he will be released after eleven months to a halfway house.
Little Feather has already served fifteen months that will count as time served. The federal sentencing comes as Red Fawn Fallis awaits sentencing on June 25th, 2018 and Michael “Rattler” Markus awaits sentencing on May 30th, 2018. Currently, Dion Ortiz and James “Angry Bird” White are preparing for federal trial. Brandon J Nastacio “Bravo One” and Brandon Aaron Miller-Castillo are also facing federal charges. The first federal sentencing comes alongside ongoing state-level trials. According to the Water Protector Legal Collective website, as of May 2 2018, there have been 835 state criminal cases connected to the #NoDAPL movement, of those: 328 have been dismissed, 24 acquitted at trial, 115 received a pretrial diversion, 127 have reached plea agreement and 16 have been convicted at trial.
Purchase, NY - Early yesterday morning, a group of activists disrupted Morgan Stanley's annual shareholder meeting by blocking vehicle access at both entrances to their corporate campus in Purchase, NY. The action was carried out in solidarity with communities across the continent who are being harmed by Morgan Stanley's continued financing of extreme energy development. This includes providing financing for Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the highly controversial Dakota Access, Bayou Bridge and Mariner East pipelines.
Of the 831 state arrests from Standing Rock, 578 have concluded so far. A large majority of those, (337), were won through dismissal or acquittal at trial. This is a huge success for Water Protectors and for the many attorneys and legal workers who have been working steadily for over a year and half and are continuing those efforts unabated. However these numbers are also clear evidence that these arrests should never have occurred in the first place. Below is some information about the most common ways that cases can be resolved if they are not dismissed and the Water Protector chooses not to take it to trial, as well as an update on the trials that are scheduled to happen throughout the spring. Everyone with pending criminal charges has an absolute right to fight their charges all the way through trial.
By Unicorn Riot. Black Snake Killaz is a feature-length documentary film about the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. This film explores actions taken by water protectors to stop the construction of the oil pipeline and highlights actions taken by law enforcement, military, and corporate mercenaries to quell the months-long protest. Black Snake Killaz timelines the historical events that unfolded in Standing Rock throughout 2016 and brings you the raw experience from many frontline actions to protect the water. Although the Dakota Access Pipeline is completed, the impact of the movement will be long-lasting.
By Water Protector Legal Collective. Dundon v. Kirchmeier is a federal civil rights class action lawsuit challenging police violence on the night of November 20-21, 2016, at Backwater Bridge near the water protector camps and the site of the DAPL pipeline just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. The case was filed on November 28, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota by nine named plaintiffs on behalf of everyone who was injured by law enforcement that night. “American Indians have felt the sharp end of a sword and the blunt end of a projectile too often in this country’s history. The brutal and militarized police violence on Backwater Bridge on November 20, 2016, should not have happened and must never happen again. The preliminary injunction is denied, but we will continue our fight for a permanent injunction and to ensure that the State pays for their indiscriminate use of excessive force,” said WPLC Executive Director Terry Janis.
By Sameer Rao for Color Lines. Native attorney and activist Chase Iron Eyes believes that the Dakota Access Pipeline’s (DAPL) attack on his ancestral homeland justified his and other water protector’s establishment of The Last Child Camp on private DAPL property in February. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department disagreed and charged him with felony riot incitement and misdemeanor trespass in March. The Associated Press (The AP) and The Bismarck Tribune reported on October 24 that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe member will present the “necessity defense” in a preliminary hearing on November 3. The judge will determine if he can use that justification during his February trial. Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute defines the necessity defense as an argument that justifies a criminal act “because it will prevent the occurrence of a harm that is more serious.” Iron Eyes argues that he defied state orders to evacuate anti-DAPL protest sites because of the harm the pipeline causes to Native lands. “Given the Dakota Access Pipeline’s imminent threat to my tribe’s and my family’s only water supply, I ultimately had no choice but to resist on the front lines,” Iron Eyes told The Tribune.
By The Indigenous Americans. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline. A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects. In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.”
By Mazaska Talks. On October 23rd, ninety-two of the world's largest banks will meet in São Paolo, Brazil to discuss policies on the climate and Indigenous People's rights to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC). These banks include Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) financiers such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and many more. Mazaska Talks is calling on indigenous people and allies everywhere to join us for 3 days of mass global action that make it clear to the banks: Financing climate disaster and the abuse of Indigenous Peoples will result in a massive global divestment movement.
By Jade Begay and Yolonda Blue Horse. Dallas, TX -- Today, hundreds of activists rallied and stood in solidarity with communities who have been impacted by Energy Transfer Partners’ pipelines. Despite unprecedented protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and being charged for many violations during the construction of DAPL, Energy Transfer Partners continues to expand its operations across the United States. From North Dakota to Pennsylvania, from Ohio to Louisiana, from Michigan to Texas, ETP violates Indigenous sovereignty, human and environmental rights. “Enough is enough. Across the country, Energy Transfer Partners steals land, poisons air and water, and trashes the climate,” said Yolonda Blue Horse, Society of Native Nations.
By Kie Relyea for the Bellingham Herald. Authorities investigating the February demonstration that blocked Interstate 5 and allegedly caused an injury crash can move forward with the search of the Bellingham #NoDAPL Coalition Facebook page. Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder on Wednesday denied a request to revoke the latest version of the search warrant, which the judge approved May 11. The American Civil Liberties Union successfully challenged the first warrant for being too broad and unconstitutional, while Facebook told investigators the second warrant was too specific for it to be able to filter for the requested information, according to court documents. The warrant orders Facebook to provide all stored content from the Bellingham #NoDAPL Coalition page from Feb. 5 to Feb. 15. That content includes photos or videos, event information, discussion posts, and all profile information including for administrators or moderators. Information that doesn’t pertain to the investigation into disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment will be returned to the court and sealed, according to the warrant.
By Staff of Mississippi Stand. This morning on August 11, before the sun spoke, over 30 unidentified agents entered the Berrigan House of the Des Moines Catholic Worker, related to a federal investigation regarding Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya's peaceful, direct action campaign. the FBI raided Berrigan House here in Des Moines, Iowa, related to a federal investigation to Jess and Ruby's activities regarding their peaceful actions against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Case No. 4:17-mj-382 Over 30 agents, with guns and assault rifles drawn, entered the home. One agent, "Dave" who refused to identify himself any further, said they had a warrant, but we were unable to see it for several hours as they conducted the search. We were also unable to reach our attorneys during this time as they had essentially kicked us out of our own homes and denied us access to phone numbers to our attorneys.