BREAKING NEWS: Mount Rushmore protest leader charged with two felonies

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.

Nick Tilsen Court Hearing

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.

READ MORE: Mount Rushmore protest leader charged with two felonies | Crime & Courts |


This is absolutely expected and yet dangerous. L/T


  1. My heart breaks a little more every time I read stories about our stolen land and the how it is lauded as a great land built upon imperialism. As a descendent of immigrants with, rumor has it, a dose of Blackfoot inside of me, there is an underlying guilt to living on stolen ground. I do my best to walk each step with reverence. Sometimes I wish a natural disaster would fell these monuments…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Listening and watching from outside the USA, the impression is that the actions of the officials don’t seem to match all those claims that some very vociferous people have been stressing about the constitution and personal freedoms, over the last few months.


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