Amy Goodman, Matt Taibbi, Trevor Timm
October 16, 2016
Democracy Now! / Rolling Stone / Freedom of the Press Foundation
 
A North Dakota state prosecutor has sought to charge award-winning journalist Amy Goodman with participating in a "riot" for filming an attack on Native American-led anti-pipeline protesters. The new charge comes after the prosecutor dropped criminal trespassing charges. Democracy Now!’s report went viral online and was viewed more than 14 million times on Facebook
 
 

Dakota Access Pipeline protestor being treated after pepper sprayed by private security contractors on land being graded for the oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. , Robyn Beck/Getty,
 
 

Breaking: ND Prosecutor Seeks "Riot" Charges Against Amy Goodman For Reporting On Pipeline Protest
Journalist Amy Goodman Shouldn't Be Arrested for Covering Dakota Pipeline Story
North Dakota Needs to Immediately Drop its Outrageous Charges Against Journalist Amy Goodman

 

Breaking: ND Prosecutor Seeks "Riot" Charges Against Amy Goodman For Reporting On Pipeline Protest
Democracy Now!
October 15, 2016
http://www.democracynow.org/2016/10/15/breaking_nd_prosecutor_seeks_riot_charges

Bismarck, North Dakota–October 15, 2016 — A North Dakota state prosecutor has sought to charge award-winning journalist Amy Goodman with participating in a "riot" for filming an attack on Native American-led anti-pipeline protesters. The new charge comes after the prosecutor dropped criminal trespassing charges.

State’s Attorney Ladd R Erickson filed the new charges on Friday before District Judge John Grinsteiner who will decide on Monday (October 17) whether probable cause exists for the riot charge.

Goodman has travelled to North Dakota to face the charges and will appear at Morton County court on Monday at 1:30 pm local time (CDT) if the charges are approved.

“I came back to North Dakota to fight a trespass charge. They saw that they could never make that charge stick, so now they want to charge me with rioting, " said Goodman. "I wasn’t trespassing, I wasn’t engaging in a riot, I was doing my job as a journalist by covering a violent attack on Native American protesters."

In an e-mail to Goodman’s attorney Tom Dickson on October 12, State’s Attorney Erickson admitted that there were "legal issues with proving the notice of trespassing requirements in the statute." In an earlier email on October 12, Erickson wrote that Goodman "was not acting as a journalist," despite that fact that the state’s criminal complaint recognized that, "Amy Goodman can be seen on the video …interviewing protesters." In that email Erikson justified his quote in the Bismarck Tribune in which he had said that "She’s [Amy Goodman] a protester, basically. Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions." The First Amendment, of course, applies irrespective of the content of a reporter’s story.

The charge in State of North Dakota v. Amy Goodman, stems from Democracy Now!’s coverage of the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline. On Saturday, September 3, Democracy Now! filmed security guards working for the pipeline company attacking protesters. The report showed guards unleashing dogs and using pepper spray and featured people with bite injuries and a dog with blood dripping from its mouth and nose.

Democracy Now!’s report went viral online and was viewed more than 14 million times on Facebook and was rebroadcast on many outlets, including CBS, NBC,NPR, CNN, MSNBC and the Huffington Post.

On September 8th, a criminal complaint and warrant was issued for Goodman’s arrest on the trespassing charge.

"Filming Native Americans being violently attacked as they defend their land is not rioting, it’s called journalism, it is protected by the First Amendment, and indeed, it is an essential function in a democratic society," said Professor Katherine Franke, chair of the board of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The pipeline project has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and members of over 100 other tribes from across the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning public television/radio news program that airs on over 1,400 stations worldwide. Goodman has co-authored six New York Times bestsellers and won many of journalism’s highest awards in more than three-decades working as a reporter.

You can see Democracy Now!’s coverage of the pipeline and the protests here.

_____________________________

Journalist Amy Goodman Shouldn't Be Arrested for Covering Dakota Pipeline Story
Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone
October 13, 2016
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/taibbi-on-amy-goodman-arrest-for-covering-dakota-pipeline-story-w444754

A little over a month ago, private security guards working on behalf of the Dakota Access pipeline company clashed with Native Americans. They were protesting the bulldozing of land on a Standing Rock Sioux tribal burial site in southern North Dakota.

Guards sprayed protesters with pepper spray and unleashed attack dogs on the crowd – which included children – in a reprehensible example of corporate violence.

Filming the protests in North Dakota that day was a crew from Democracy Now! The show's award-winning anchorwoman Amy Goodman conducted interviews during the protests and covered the dog attacks as they unfolded.

The show's subsequent special report about the incident went viral, with more than 14 million people viewing it on Facebook.

Shortly thereafter, the Obama administration intervened, stopping pipeline construction on Army Corps land and asking the company to "voluntarily pause all construction activity" in the area.

This victory for the Standing Rock Sioux would likely not have been possible without the aggressive independent reporting of Democracy Now!, whose pictures created significant public pressure.

On September 8th, five days after the events, local authorities took the incredible step of filing criminal trespassing charges against Amy.

Prosecutor Ladd Erickson argued publicly that Amy was not acting as a journalist at the time of the protests.

"She's a protester, basically. Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions," he said.

Erickson added that he was distressed that Goodman had not mentioned alleged assaults on guards, or trespassing.

A Hawaii-based attorney named Teresa Tico wrote Erickson to complain. She first asked if he had been quoted correctly when he pooh-poohed Goodman's status as a journalist. She also hailed Goodman's career and hastened to reassure Erickson that Amy is, in fact, a reporter.

This, weirdly enough, is where my name comes up in this story. Erickson wrote back to Tico and said:

"One of my favorite writers is Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone and I try to track his stuff. Ms. Goodman has interviewed him a couple times that I have seen and that is my primary source for knowing who she is."

Democracy Now! passed on this strange note and asked for comment.

I don't normally like to disagree with anyone possessing the excellent judgment to be a regular reader of mine, but Erickson is dead wrong here.

______________________________

North Dakota Needs to Immediately Drop its Outrageous Charges Against Journalist Amy Goodman
Trevor Timm
Freedom of the Press Foundation
October 13, 2016
https://freedom.press/blog/2016/10/north-dakota-needs-immediately-drop-its-outrageous-charges-against-journalist-amy
 

UPDATE [Oct. 15th]: North Dakota prosecutors have indicated they have dropped the trespassing charges against Amy Goodman, and instead will charge her with participating in a "riot." 

“I came back to North Dakota to fight a trespass charge. They saw that they could never make that charge stick, so now they want to charge me with rioting," Goodman said on Saturday. "I wasn’t trespassing, I wasn’t engaging in a riot, I was doing my job as a journalist by covering a violent attack on Native American protesters."

---

Award-winning journalist and the host of Democracy Now, Amy Goodman, has been facing an outrageous arrest warrant in North Dakota for “criminal trespass” since early September—the result of her merely doing her job as a reporter and covering private police committing violence against oil pipeline protesters in North Dakota. 

Today, she announced she would return to the state in order to turn herself in and contest the charges on Monday.

"I will go back to North Dakota to fight this charge,” she said. “It is a clear violation of the First Amendment," said Goodman. "I was doing my job as a journalist, covering a violent attack on Native American protesters."

It couldn’t be more obvious that Ms. Goodman is being charged solely for her journalism and the impact it had on the oil pipeline debate. Here’s how Democracy Now described its news coverage that led to the charges against Ms. Goodman:

On Saturday, September 3, Democracy Now! filmed security guards working for the pipeline company attacking protesters. The report showed guards unleashing dogs and using pepper spray and featured people with bite injuries and a dog with blood on its mouth and nose.

Democracy Now!’s report went viral online, was viewed more than 14 million times on Facebook and was rebroadcast on many outlets, including CBS, NBC, NPR, CNN, MSNBCand the Huffington Post.

Rolling Stone’s Matt Tiabbi detailed what happened as a result of the segment Democracy Now aired:

Shortly thereafter, the Obama administration intervened, stopping pipeline construction on Army Corps land and asking the company to "voluntarily pause all construction activity" in the area.

This victory for the Standing Rock Sioux would likely not have been possible without the aggressive independent reporting of Democracy Now!, whose pictures created significant public pressure.

Yet because, in the words of the prosecutor, “Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions," she now faces criminal charges. Read that sentence again. The state is literally charging her for nothing else beyond exercising her rights as a journalist.

We fully support Ms. Goodman for taking this incredibly brave stance and being willing to return North Dakota to fight these charges directly, but make no mistake: North Dakota authorities should have dropped these obviously illegal charges as soon as they were issued.

How North Dakota did not immediately realize this was all a horrible mistake on their part is beyond reason. The only explanation seems to be that they want to silence First Amendment-protected speech and intimidate other journalists into not covering the protests. Since the charges were issued a month ago, their actions have been universally condemned by press freedom advocates, and there is simply no justification for letting it stand.

Not only are they flagrantly violating the Constitution, they are giving every two bit dictator and corrupt police establishment around the world every excuse to point to this episode and arrest journalists abroad, while making a mockery of our own press freedom protections at home.

Goodman is not a stranger to unconstitutional actions by local police. She was arrested in Minnesota in 2008 for covering the protests around the Republican National Convention. She later sued and won $100,000 from the state for infringing her First Amendment rights.

We hope and expect similar accountability for the authorities here when the dust clears. But in the meantime, North Dakota should stop embarrassing itself and drop all charges against Amy Goodman, and any other journalist who may be suffering the same fate, immediately.

 
 
VIEW ONLINE
PRINT
SUBSCRIBE
VISIT PORTSIDE.ORG
TWITTER
FACEBOOK

 

 
 

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people on the left that will help them to interpret the world and to change it.

       
 

To unsubscribe, click here.