Alder Rebecca Kemble
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Kemble’s Blog
Update on Standing Rock
I'd like to update you on the status of the charges levied against me in Morton County, North Dakota. You may remember that I was arrested while serving as a legal observer at a ceremony on Indigenous Peoples' Day, October 10, 2016.
I traveled to Bismarck at the end of last month to attend a hearing on my motion to dismiss the 4 charges against me. I was able to take the witness stand at the hearing and testify against the false charges. Fortunately, the presiding judge was a man who came out of retirement from outside Morton County and required the prosecution to produce evidence - other than the arresting officer's affidavit - to support the charges. This is something Morton County judges had not been requiring in other cases, and it worried me. Since the prosecution had not done any independent investigation of the charges and had no other evidence to submit, the judge found there was no evidence of probable cause and dismissed all 4 charges. My testimony also led to the charges of engaging in a riot and criminal trespass to be dropped for many of the other people arrested on Indigenous Peoples' Day as well.
However, the prosecutor then filed new charges of obstructing a government function against some of my co-defendants. I have not yet received new charges, but I am still vulnerable.
I finally got my video camera back from the Morton County Sheriff in good condition. They copied all the footage off the camera and returned the video card intact as well. Three of my friends traveled with me to Bismarck last month, including the filmmaker Paulette Moore who made this beautiful video:
Thanks for all the messages of support you've sent me over the past several months as I've been dealing with the possibility of facing more than 2 years of jail on trumped-up charges. Hearing from so many constituents and well-wishers has given me a great deal of comfort.
The human rights and legal crises in North Dakota continue for the indigenous people who live there and the more than 800 people who have been arrested since last August. Although the state government and the mainstream media have been hardened against the water protectors and indigenous people, there are many people in North Dakota who are interested in working for justice.
While in Bismarck, I attended a "Meet the Water Protectors" event at the public library. I was able to share with the people of Bismarck, including a North Dakota State Senator, a brief history of tribal relations in our city, including the fact that thousands of sacred sites were destroyed in order to build it, and the efforts that we have been making since the late 1960's to repair some of the damage and build better understanding and relationships with sovereign nations, in particular the Ho Chunk Nation. Our story has given the good people of the Bismarck-Mandan area some hope that progress can be made in a situation that feels overwhelming.
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