A leader of the protest that blocked the highway between Keystone and Mount Rushmore just before President Trump’s July 3rd visit to Rushmore has been bound over for trial on multiple assault and theft charges stemming from the protest – and that’s just fine with him.
Nick Tilsen, president and CEO of the activist group NDN Collective, says he wants his case to go to trial because the charges against him are unfounded and he won’t take any plea deals. A judge will be named this week and a date set for his next court appearance.
Tilsen is accused of assaulting multiple officers and taking a riot shield from a South Dakota National Guard soldier. His preliminary hearing featured several police body can videos and 4 witnesses including the female soldier with the baton.
Two Pennington County deputies testified during cross examination that the protest was peaceful and no one was injured before the National Guard arrived.
After the hearing, Tilsen said the protest and all its participants were peaceful and that the situation was escalated by the National Guard.
In a related development, NDN Collective has submitted a petition with over 14,000 signatures demanding that all charges be dropped for Tilsen and 19 other protesters facing charges.