Monday, September 01, 2008

Amy Goodman Arrested at the RNC

I find this news (and the accompanying video footage) to be very disturbing: Amy Goodman, the award-winning journalist, author, and host of Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now, was arrested this afternoon outside the Republican National Convention (RNC).

Goodman was arrested along with Democracy Now! producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar.

As of 9:15 PM EST, the Ramsey County jail has charged Goodman with “conspiracy to riot” and released her, but is still detaining Kouddous and Salazar. No charges have been pressed against them. Following is a media statement from Democracy Now! issued prior to Goodman’s release from jail.

September 1, 2008

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.

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 Amendment 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.

9/2/08 Update Following are excerpts from a second statement from Democracy Now!

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: 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.

Opening Image: Michael J. Bayly.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Amy Goodman and the “Sacred Responsibilty” of Listening
Marching on the RNC


Anonymous said...

Outrageous. But, what do we expect? A lawless bunch of politicians and the terror fear seem to be Republicans (and their Democratic enablers) modus operandi.

Disturbing is a minimal reaction. Are the SS Gestapo next?

Michael Douglas said...


Hopefully we'll see more of this on "Democracy Now" whose coverage of the DNC & RNC conventions so far has been absolutely stellar.

None of the MSM's coverage of the protests has been truthfully relating what exactly has been the real story of this RNC -- and that is the work of peaceful activists such as yourself. Yours and the other meaningful acts dissent characterized by the "other" protest, of course, were not newsworthy enough for the salaciousness the MSM craves for ratings and profits. Nope, trumpeting the act of a rebellious and irresponsible few as though it were the only form of intellectual opposition this great progressive state of ours can muster is, sadly, all we can ever expect from the sorry state of corporate journalism in this country.

Keep doing what you're doing as most of us enlightened ones know the real story!

Anonymous said...

Just curious - what were some of the high points of the "Democracy Now" coverage of the DNC?

Michael J. Bayly said...

Hi Mark,

Democracy Now! had extensive coverage of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver, CO., last month.

Highlights (for me, at least) included:

Jeremy Scahill’s questioning of lawmakers on the Iraq war, Barack Obama’s foreign policy team, and the corporate money behind the convention.

Amy Goodman’s interview with former President Jimmy Carter on his being sidelined at the DNC.

A round table discussion on “narrowing the Obama-Clinton divide.”

An interview with actor and activist Danny Glover on the “challenges for popular movements in an historic election year.”

Coverage of the August 27 protest march to the DNC.

An interview with Ralph Nader on the Democratic Party’s corporate ties, the silencing of third parties, and why Joe Biden is the “MasterCard Senator.”



Renegade Eye said...

On Saturday night the police broke into a house, owned by someone I know, who is not a masked anarchist. he had staying at his house videographers, who documented police brutality at the NYC Republican Convention.

He owns a house with two addresses. The search warrant has a different address, than the part of his house that was searched.

I wrote about the politics at my blog.