MANDAN, North Dakota—Dakota Access Pipeline water protector Cody Hall pled not guilty to two charges of misdemeanor criminal trespass and was released on a $150 bond on Monday in North Dakota District Court.
Hall was arrested on Friday September 9 at 2:20 p.m. near the controversial “information checkpoint” that has been established by the Morton County Sheriff north of the massive anti-pipeline encampment along the Cannonball River.
“In a deliberate show of force, four units surrounded my car. Each car had three to four officers to take me into custody,” he said. “Their intimidation tactics continued when we arrived at the Morton County Jail. Eight officers were waiting for me when the elevator door opened.”
Hall’s attorney Jackie M. Stebbins expressed frustration to the court about her client having to sit in jail throughout the weekend.
“Had I been appointed as counsel prior to Cody’s arrest, or even on the day of his arrest, I would have found a judge for a bond hearing on Friday afternoon. This is clearly a very high profile political case,” she said. “However, I am on board now and Cody will have his day in court.”
District Court Judge Gail Hagerty acknowledged Hall’s time served without a bond hearing and set a low bond with a stipulation of no contact with the Cannon Ball Ranch.
Hall is charged with criminal trespass, a class B misdemeanor, for a September 3, 2016 direct action due west of Highway 1806, just north of the large encampment. There, Dakota Access LLC workers arrived over a holiday weekend and bulldozed a two-mile section of land that had recently been identified as sacred burial grounds and culturally significant sites. This count carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.
Hall faces an additional charge of criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor, for his alleged participation in a nonviolent direct action, which occurred on September 6 at a pipeline construction site. This count carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
Journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now reported live from that event and was issued an arrest warrant, along with Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein, and her running mate Ajamu Baraka, for their alleged participation in the direct action.
“Cody has a good heart. He is a sundancer and a pipe carrier. He saw the injustice and came up here to help the people of Standing Rock,” said Hall’s mother, Francine. “His great grandfather is Hunkpapa. I am glad that our people are standing up because we have to speak for the four-legged, the two-legged, the winged, and the ones that crawl. Indigenous people in North and South America have been given instructions by the Creator to take care of all living things and these teachings have been passed down from generation to generation to generation. That is why you see so many tribes here and why Cody is here.”
Hall is the founder of the Oceti Sakowin Sports Council, a nonprofit organization committed to promoting athletic events and camps for Native youth. He serves as a youth lacrosse coach and operates Native Elite Performance, a sports and talent agency.
“Those of us that are here on the front line are being targeted and they are attempting to silence us. It’s reminiscent of what Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse went through,” said Hall, whose trial is scheduled for December 20. “As water protectors and sacred site defenders, we must stay strong and vigilant. We will continue to speak our truths through nonviolent direct action.”