Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! Producers, AP Photographer Arrested

The Washington Post is reporting that Democracy Now! radio host Amy Goodman was arrested in St. Paul after inquiring with the police over the arrest of two Democracy Now! producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Goodman and her producers were in St. Paul to report on the Republican National Convention. Goodman was held in custody for three hours, and Goodman has claimed the Secret Service ripped off her press credentials to get on the floor of the Republican National Convention. Meanwhile, the two producers are still being held in custody. (An audio file of the arrest can be found here. In addition, The Uptake has a camera view from another angle.)

Also arrested (in a separate incident) was Associated Press photographer Matt Rourke. While the charges against Goodman, Kouddous, and Salazar are uncertain, Rourke was charged with a gross misdemeanor riot charge.

Glenn Greenwald has more, writing:

Beginning last night, St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city be, even more so than Manhattan in the week of 9/11 — with troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas cannisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations. Humvees and law enforcement officers with rifles were posted on various buildings and balconies. Numerous protesters and observers were tear gassed and injured.

Let us be clear on this. This goes well beyond Josh Wolf refusing to turn over evidence. Journalists who had the decency and the effrontery to ask hardball questions were prevented from conducting their work. None of these people were causing a riot. They were in St. Paul doing their jobs. They were there talking to people and reporting the news. Their collective right to be there, which was confirmed by their press credentials, is protected by the First Amendment. If the St. Paul Police Department does not come clean with details and specific allegations, then it is up to the American public to ensure that the police who arrested these journalists are levied with the appropriate penalties.

[UPDATE: Democracy Now has issued a press release indicating that Kouddous and Salazar have been released. Goodman was charged with obstruction. According to the press release, Kouddous and Salazar were charged with felony riot charges.]

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6 Comments

  1. […] them, a photographer for Associated Press was also arrested today while covering the protests (h/t Edward Champion). An AP spokesman said of the arrest: “covering news is constitutionally protected, and […]

  2. What can I say…?

    Welcome to Russia.

  3. […] them, a photographer for Associated Press was also arrested today while covering the protests (h/t Edward Champion). An AP spokesman said of the arrest: “covering news is constitutionally protected, and […]

  4. What year is this again?

    What do they expect those journalists to do–commit news? Oooh, that’s a crime now, yep.
    I never used to believe all those razor-wired holding pens out in the middle of nowhere must be for someone–now, i’m not so sure anymore.

  5. I’m glad to see that the rampant arrest of journalists at the RNC managed to get some attention. The fact that journalists appear to have been specifically targeted in some cases is even more alarming, but that story hasn’t quite resonated as much.

    What I don’t get, is how “This goes well beyond Josh Wolf refusing to turn over evidence,” maybe it does, but as you said, “let us be clear on this,” and I honestly don’t feel you were clear at all about how this goes beyond my own past saga.

    Don’t get me wrong, arresting journalists is one of the first signs of Fascism (but this is hardly the first incident – I’ve been arrested at three SF protests, and in none of those situations did I, violate the law, refuse a police order, or interfere with police). But I feel that when a government tries to force a journalist to do their bidding under the real or perceived threat of jail that it goes beyond simple arrests.

    I was ordered to turn over video material that did not contain any criminal acts and attempts to prove that by letting the judge see the video himself were rebuked.

    The government sought my testimony in an attempt to identify protesters, and not to investigate a crime. In fact, the judge acknowledged that the Federal government’s jurisdiction in the matter was tenuous and might not stand in any theoretical trial that never happened.

    Now, if the charges against the journalists are not dropped, without prejudice and with due diligence, then I would have to agree with you that this situation is far worse than the one I faced.

    But unless that does happen, I can’t really see how this goes beyond what happened to me. Maybe you can help me see where you’re coming from.

  6. Josh: Thanks for the comment. To clarify, you were able to film at the events that you attended and go home without being arrested. Amy Goodman and company were not. They were arrested WHILE they were in the middle of performing their job. They did not have the opportunity to go home, much less exercise their right to turn over evidence. They were arrested BEFORE they could collect the evidence.

    That is why I believe this precedent goes beyond what you did. This is not a scale game. I’m measuring this on a linear level.

    Does that clear things up?

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