Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault found not guilty of disorderly conduct

Published: May. 31, 2017 at 3:51 PM CDT
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Claps and sighs of relief in a Morton County courtroom, where a jury acquitted Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault and Tribal Council member Dana Yellow Fat of disorderly conduct charges.

Alayna Eagle Shield was also acquitted.

The cases go back to a protest near a Dakota Access Pipeline site last August.

Both men testified at Wednesday's hearing and are satisfied with the outcome.

It was one not guilty verdict after another involving very prominent figures with the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.

"I feel relieved you know, this is something that has been hanging over my head for a long time for almost a year now and not knowing when this was ever going to end is kind of an uneasy feeling and now that it's done I'm thankful," said Archambault.

Archambault and Tribal Councilman Dana Yellow Fat were both arrested Aug. 12 for what the State called pushing officers. Four officers provided testimony of the incidents and a video from social media showing the men's arrests.

State Attorney Ladd Erickson told the jury the men performed a political action and tried to get attention by being arrested. The defense attorney claimed that they were trying to keep people, specifically two older women, safe at the site and their actions didn't fit the definition of disorderly conduct.

"They both wanted to serve as both an example and a protection to the people of that tribe," said Erica Shively, defense attorney.

Yellow Fat said he was happy to have the verdict confirmed by a jury of his peers. His wife was in the courtroom and he said he's thankful for her support.

I wasn't able to speak to Eagle Shield after she was acquitted, but the men said they were both very happy for her.