A packed courtroom of supporters learned Monday morning that one of the protest leaders who helped shut down the highway to Mount Rushmore on Friday is facing five criminal charges, including two felonies.
Nick Tilsen is charged with second-degree robbery for allegedly stealing a shield from a law enforcement officer, a prosecutor said during his initial appearance at the Pennington County Courthouse in Rapid City.
Tilsen is also charged with simple assault for allegedly assaulting the same officer. The 38-year-old Porcupine resident — who appeared in court via a video feed from the Pennington County Jail — is also charged with three misdemeanors: impeding a highway, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct.
Tilsen is accused of three kinds of disorderly conduct but can only be convicted of one: engaging in violent or threatening behavior, obstructing traffic or disturbing the lawful assembly at Mount Rushmore.If convicted, Tilsen faces up to 10 years in prison for the robbery charge and two years for the simple assault. Disorderly conduct carries a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail while the other misdemeanors have a maximum punishment of one year in jail.
Tilsen’s charges stem from his participation in Friday’s Indigenous-led civil disobedience action near Mount Rushmore where President Donald Trump spoke at an Independence Day fireworks celebration.
The Journal has seen a Unicorn Riot video of Tilsen pushing a shield against a row of riot police who walked towards and used their shields against protesters. The Journal has seen photos of other protesters holding the shield but no footage showing which person took it. The shield was later returned to or retrieved by police with the words “land back” spray painted onto it.
Mark Tilsen Sr. is interviewed by reporters after his son, Nick Tilsen, made his initial court appearance Monday at the Pennington County Courthouse in Rapid City.
This is absolutely expected and yet dangerous. L/T