AIM Founder Clyde Bellecourt Mistrial Declared For Idle No More Arrest
On September 17, Clyde Bellecourt, an American Indian Movement founder, saw a deadlocked jury determine it could not reach a verdict in his trespassing trial following an arrest on Christmas Eve.
Bellecourt who was attending an Idle No More solidarity protest at Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, that included a Flash Mob Round Dance that took place at the IDS Center’s Crystal Court.
On September 13, a six-member jury announced multiple times it was unable to agree on a unanimous verdict on the misdemeanor charge leading Judge James Moore to declare a mistrial according to the Star Tribune.
Bellecourt’s case is set to be scheduled for a retrial.
Larry Leventhal, Bellecourt’s attorney told the Tribune, “I would think the city should dismiss the charges, as there’s absolutely nothing to be gained by prosecuting Mr. Bellecourt once again but to further harass him.”
As Indian Country Today Media Network reported on December 28, Bellecourt was enjoying a cup of coffee while his son was shopping was improperly arrested. Bellecourt was not involved in the Idle No More demonstration, but found out about it while he was at the mall according to Jennifer Hudson, executive director of the One Heart One Mind Interpretive Center.
According to the charges Bellecourt was told “10 times” that he would be arrested if he didn’t leave, then another three times after he sat back down on the bench. According to the Tribune the charges state that he pulled away from the officers before grabbing one of them and then going limp and falling to the floor, passively resisting arrest.
ICTMN reported that Bellecourt, who arrived late to the event, didn’t want to leave and chose to lay down in protest. A video of the incident was referenced by the prosecution and the defense during the trial to bolster their arguments and it can be seen below.
Following the mistrial Bellecourt told the Tribune that he was glad he decided to turn down the lower charge of petty misdemeanor that he was offered stating, “because I didn’t do anything wrong and I wanted to show that they overreacted, if someone else were singing Christmas carols in there, I don’t think anyone would have bothered them.”
Bellecourt remains confident that he will be acquitted if the case goes to trail again.