Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Charges Dismissed Against Nick Tilsen, CEO of NDN Collective, for 2020 Mt. Rushmore Protest


December 14, 2022

Nick Tilsen, President and CEO of NDN Collective, speaks at the "Walk to Justice for Leonard Peltier" in Washington, D.C. on November 13, 2022. (Photo/Darren Thompson)

RAPID CITY, S.D. - NDN Collective announced today that all charges against NDN Collective president and CEO Nick Tilsen have been dismissed by the Pennington County State Attorney's Office. Tilsen's charges stem from a protest organized during former President Trump's visit to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial on July 3, 2020.

"My case held a mirror up to the so-called legal system, where prosecutors – fueled by white fragility and fear of Indigenous power – wasted years of state resources to intimidate, criminalize, and violate me," said Nick Tilsen, president and CEO of NDN Collective in a press release. "The fact that I've gone from facing 17 years in prison to all charges dismissed is not a coincidence or an act of justice – it's evidence that the charges were bogus from the start. We only won because we had effective tools and a strong network to fight them, and did not back down until we had exhausted the system that was built to exhaust us."

Tilsen was charged with second-degree robbery and grand theft in the alternative, as well as two counts of simple assault against law enforcement officers and three other misdemeanor crimes: standing on highway with intense to impede-stop traffic, failure to vacate/ordered to leave, and disorderly conduct-unlawful assembly. Tilsen's felony charges stem from allegedly stealing a shield from a female Air National Guardsman and assaulting her, all felonies in South Dakota.


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