Free Amy Goodman UPDATE: Goodman released, still faces charges

While everyone (including yours truly) was busy arguing the political and ethical implications of a pregnant 17 year old, the bloody fucking fascists of the St Paul Police Department arrested Amy Goodman while she was covering today’s RNC protests.

Yeah, that Amy Goodman:

Glenn Greenwald reports that Goodman has been charged with “conspiracy to riot”:

I just attended a Press Conference with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Police Chief John M. Harrington and — after they boasted of how “restrained” their police actions were — asked about the journalists and lawyers who had been detained and/or arrested both today and over the weekend. They said they wouldn’t give any information about journalists who had been arrested today, though they said they believed that “one journalist” had been, and that she “was sima participant in the riots, not simply a non-participant.”

Lots more RNC protest footage at The Uptake; news conference footage here; more on Goodman’s arrest from Cliff Schecter (note: FDL is currently down).

h/t pale @ ACR and Sylvia (via Twitter)

Update: lots more links at Sylvia’s place. The Uptake’s RNC protest blog reports that Goodman has been released. Will update once this has been confirmed.

Update 2: Via Mike in comemnts, Democracy Now! press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
www.democracynow.org

September 1, 2008

Contact:
Dennis Moynihan
Mike Burke

ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfuly detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sherrif Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.

Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amenmdent rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation’s leading independent news outlet.

Democracy Now! is a nationally-syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.

Update 3: Democracy Now! producer Mike Burke just confirmed via email that Goodman has been released, but still faces charges; Kouddous and Salazar both remain in custody, so please call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Kouddous and Salazar. As previously mentioned, calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

Update 4 Greenwald updates and links to a SF Chronicle interview with Goodman immediately following her release, in which Goodman says she was charged with a misdemeanor, and confirms that both Kouddous and Salazar have been released and face felony charges. Greenwald also notes that an AP photographer was arrested, and DNC superdelegate and CNN commentator Donna Brazile was pepper sprayed on the way to the Xcel Center. MyFox Twin Cities reports that as of 9:40 PM CDT, “283 people [have been arrested] for riot. 129 have been arrested for felonies, 51 for gross misdemeanors and 103 for misdemeanors”. (Apparently ‘anarchist’ is the new ‘terrorist’ as far as the St Paul PD’s public affairs office is concerned.)

Check out this post-arrest interview conducted with Goodman by FSTV:

Also covering the arrest of Amy Goodman and the RNC 2008 protests:

Update 5: updated Democracy Now! press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 1, 2008

Contact: Mike Burke

UPDATE

Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released After Illegal Arrest at RNC

Goodman Charged with Obstruction; Felony Riot Charges Pending Against Kouddous and Salazar

ST. PAUL–Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar have all been released from police custody in St. Paul following their illegal arrest by Minneapolis Police on Monday afternoon.

All three were violently manhandled by law enforcement officers. Abdel Kouddous was slammed against a wall and the ground, leaving his arms scraped and bloodied. He sustained other injuries to his chest and back. Salazar’s violent arrest by baton-wielding officers, during which she was slammed to the ground while yelling, “I’m Press! Press!,” resulted in her nose bleeding, as well as causing facial pain. Goodman’s arm was violently yanked by police as she was arrested.

On Tuesday, Democracy Now! will broadcast video of these arrests, as well as the broader police action. These will also be available on: www.democracynow.org

Goodman was arrested while questioning police about the unlawful detention of Kouddous and Salazar who were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were arrested on suspicion of rioting, a felony. While the three have been released, they all still face charges stemming from their unlawful arrest. Kouddous and Salazar face pending charges of suspicion of felony riot, while Goodman has been officially charged with obstruction of a legal process and interference with a “peace officer.”

Democracy Now! forcefully rejects all of these charges as false and an attempt at intimidation of these journalists. We demand that the charges be immediately and completely dropped.

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities’ law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which the Democracy Now! team was arrested, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force against protesters and journalists. Several dozen demonstrators were also arrested during this action, including a photographer for the Associated Press.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and the subsequent criminal charges and threat of charges are a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists.

Democracy Now! is a nationally-syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.

As Juan Cole says, “Democracy Now! is among the few news programs that tries to deliver real news to the American public, not the babysitting pap that passes for such so often in the corporate media.” We at CFLF echo Democracy Now!’s rejection of illegal police intimidation and suppression of the press and call for all charges against Goodman, Salazar, and Kouddous to be dropped forthwith.

12 Responses to “Free Amy Goodman UPDATE: Goodman released, still faces charges”

  1. This is an outrage! For more info you can visit DemocracyNOW!.

  2. Kathy says:

    Goodman and her field producers have been released.

  3. Kathy says:

    Whoops, I see that matt already said that.

  4. What a load of crap! How could she have been participating in the riots and covering them for the news? DO they even realize how silly that sounds?

  5. April Reign says:

    Apparently the government learned a few things at the Olympics.

  6. Craig says:

    I’m sure I’ll be burned at the stake for this, but how about if people acted in violation of a police order? There was an actual mini-riot going on with some fringe “protesters” destroying private property and businesses, along with police officers being assaulted as well. This is not the time to wade in to the mess and start a point of law debate with officers who are giving you a direct order to move away from an area. They will ask you once, then twice and maybe even three times, and then, if you persist in ignoring them, you are arrested. I don’t care what credentials you have around your neck. The version of the arrest that I watched showed pretty much this very thing.

    Weep not for Amy, because I’m sure she was quite fine with the idea of being arrested while on video.

    Let me try to jump ahead of the blowback by saying that this is not a blanket approval for actual police brutality and illegal acts. Just try to put a little context around the full episode before anyone claims that St. Paul is a police state.

    If the police acted inappropriately, then they should be punished for it.

  7. matttbastard says:

    …burned at the stake…

    Ah, hyperbole–I heart.

    Relax, cupcake , no heretical punishment is in your future–at least, not from me. You have every right to be the lone righteous apologist for authoritarian overreach on this thread without fear of the Spanish Inquisition. Allow me a resigned sigh, however, as once again I’m presented with more evidence that too many US citizens (assuming you are American, of course) are quite willing–nay, eager–to sacrifice constitutionally-mandated rights and liberties out of reflexive, fawning deference for authority (especially when it’s a dirty fucking hippie being ordered up against the wall, motherfucker). The only “context” one needs to keep in mind is the Bill of Rights and the 1st Amendment; anything else is deliberate, disingenuous obfuscation, or “spin” as the kewl kidz in the PR industry like to call it.

    You Tivo COPS religiously, dontcha, Craig?

    Weep not for Amy, because I’m sure she was quite fine with the idea of being arrested while on video.

    She was, ahem, asking for it, huh, Craig? And you know this, how? Tarot cards? Crystal ball? Making a (slanderous) statement like that is well within your rights as an American citizen. Were you in Canada, Amy would have solid grounds to commence legal action against you for libel.

    I fear the irony will blow over your all-American crew cut with the supersonic velocity of an F-16.

  8. Craig says:

    Wow, the sterotypes based upon my opinion are flying rather thick.

    What is the actual evidence that these media-types were horribly abused of their rights? Their own press release? The “free speech TV”? Please. That is simply their narrative, with no real filter on how much, or how little, truth is in it. Is there something I am not reading or seeing here? The video clearly showed Amy insisting on making her point and physically resisting the repeated order and effort to move her away from the specific area she was at, and onto the sidewalk. As for her collegues, doesn’t it make at least some sense that they could have been in a “wrong place wrong time” scenario during a riot situation? Could it also not be that they too were resisting police direction to back away from an immediate area? Rather than assuming it was “Nazis Gone Wild” out there, why not at least try to seek some full context? Unless I missed it, Amy didn’t seem to make reference to the anarchists that were spreading mayham all around. Given that fact that the three people were released (to my understanding) I’d say that their ID’s checked out, and if they truly did nothing other than protest their innocence, any remaining charges will likely be dropped as well.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, there are many people wanting to have their voices heard peacefully and respectfully during this convention. But there are a subset of people, many who are fringe elements, who could give a rip about this election or in democracy in general, who only want to specifically cause physical damage to property and physical harm to certain people during this week. I fully expect ( my opinion) a disturbance within the convention itself during one of the major televised speeches. And not necessarily just some people standing up and chanting slogans. I hope I am wrong.

    As I said before, if any law enforcement personnel have gone beyond their authority in this type of crowd/riot control situation, then they should be punished.

    I still hope we can discuss this as real people and not just yelling at assumed stereotypes (though labeling people as some kind of “thing” makes it easier to deal with).

  9. matttbastard says:

    Now now, Craig, no moving the goalposts just yet. You’ll have ample opportunity soon enough to hijack the thread just like you do with Kathy’s posts, I promise. First, though, I’d like to follow up on your statement that Goodman was “quite fine with the idea of being arrested while on video.” I must admit to being a bit curious–do you have some kind of inside information to share with us that would, y’know, corroborate this statement, or are you gong to to retract this little slanderous nugget randomly fished out of your dirt pipe milkshake?

  10. Kathy says:

    Craig, in the video I saw, Amy Goodman was arrested because she was asking the police to tell her why they had just arrested her field producers. Although I haven’t been keeping up with this story as closely as I usually would because of my involvement in the other thread, I did read Mattt’s post here, and Glenn Greenwald’s, and the coverage at The Uptake, and my understanding of what happened is that the police were/are arresting participants in peaceful street demonstrations, as well as journalists doing their job (i.e., covering the street demonstrations and the arrests) as well as lawyers trying to do *their* job (i.e., trying to protect the rights of political dissenters who were being manhandled by the police).

    Of course, I am just repeating what you have already read here, so I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. You just choose not to believe it. And that’s what puzzles me. I don’t understand why you automatically give greater credence to police telling people they cannot assemble on the streets outside the convention and peacefully protest (which is their constitutional right) and then roughing them up when they question the infringement on their rights, than you do to the protesters. There seems to be a default setting in your mind that leads you to equate dissenters with troublemakers, in the absence of any real evidence that that is the case.

    I am inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to the dissenters, partly because I know that it’s in the nature of established authority to clamp down on dissent, yes, even in the United States, and partly because I have been present at many peaceful demonstrations and protests about which I later heard or read that the police were violently confronted, or physically endangered, and it just wasn’t true. At least, I never saw it.

    I also feel confident in saying that the police charges against Amy Goodman of “conspiracy to riot” are pure hogwash on their face, because I have seen and heard Amy Goodman speak in person on several occasions; I have participated in pollitical events that she covered or spoke at; plus, I have listened to her Democracy Now! radio show for many years. Charges of violent behavior or “conspiracy to riot” are just laughable, Craig. They’re nonsense. Amy is the least violent person I’ve ever met.

  11. Craig says:

    With some of the wild slanderous speculation that has been going on in some of the posts here in recent days, I’m surprised that my comment is demanding such exacting evidence.

    I am making my comment based upon what I am seeing on the clip itself. I never stated it as a known fact. If you read it that way, it was not my intent. I happen to believe that Amy is a pretty smart cookie, who has been around the block a few times in covering protests or being a participant (as is her right). She is likely very knowledgeable about how interactions with police are handled. Especially a setting which is a very chaotic situation occurring of peaceful protesters with significant numbers of outright anarchists mixed within, who are destroying property and taking selective advantage of numbers to also assault officers (surely you’ve seen the news videos yesterday). The police are in a heighten state of action and are going to be especially limited in tolerating disobedience, whether verbal or physical. Since you may have a personal empathy for Amy through her work, you may never be able to view this incident involving her through the eyes of those trying to control a dangerous situation going on around them.

    I explained above how, during this particular emergency situation that the police were dealing with, Amy seemed insistent that her requests for information be honored immediately, as the officer was repeatedly asking her to move back away from a particular police line. While he was then physically trying to move her away from the police line she was continuing to lean into him and resist being moved back. As I said, she is no doubt a smart person and is familiar with how these interactions work. I have no idea why she would do this since you would have to think that she would fully understand what the final result was likely to be. I can appreciate her concern for her co-workers. Maybe she felt if she couldn’t get an answer she’d just as soon be arrested along with them. But to believe that she was oblivious to the idea that she might be arrested as a result of her actions is actually giving her LESS credit for street smarts than I am giving her.

    And I don’t know who was filming this at such close range. A colleague? But I would suppose that both Amy and the police officers knew that the exchange was being videoed, which may have played into both of their reactions.

    I can’t speak to all the arrests that happened throughout the day. I can only suggest what I am seeing from the limited clip and the knowledge of the types of conflict and violence that was going on yesterday.

    I would think that soon (if not already) the charges initially leveled on her and her co-workers will be dropped, if events happened as Amy says. Let’s at least try to understand all the moving parts here when a riot is breaking out (by what seems to be some very fringe factions) within and around an otherwise lawful protest. It’s a very confusing and chaotic scene that the police are tasked to try to control. Its not the ideal time to try to demand for a police supervisor to appear so that a discussion of professional rights can be debated.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. If the police acted with excessive force, even within the guidelines for behavior in a difficult situation such as that one yesterday, the culprits should be punished.

    This is likely just another topic in which we will just have to disagree.

  12. Craig says:

    Postscript: I will say, after a brief search on her background, that Amy appears to invite and interview conservative guests on her program, much to the dismay of some of her supporters, and that she seems to avoid embracing the 9/11 truthers movement, again, angering some of her supporters. Its my opinion that if she can be popular with her base, and yet still generate criticism among a good chunk of them, she is probably doing some good true journalistic work.

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