Reporters Committee decries citations given to journalists at RNC protest

September 6, 2008

PRESS RELEASE · September 5, 2008 ·

Reporters Committee decries citations given to journalists at RNC protest

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press today asked Ramsey County Sheriff Robert Fletcher and St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington to drop the criminal citations given last evening to up to 20 journalists who were covering a demonstration at the Republican National Convention.

The reporters and photographers had followed demonstrators who were marching from the state Capitol area into downtown St. Paul. Law enforcement officers flanked the marchers and corralled them on bridges passing over Interstate 94. Journalists and marchers were detained on the bridges while police processed them.

Volunteer lawyers for the Reporters Committee’s convention hotline and several Twin Cities area editors and news directors appeared to have negotiated the release of the reporters with commanders on the scene but Fletcher and Harrington apparently intervened, they said, and ordered that the journalists be issued criminal citations. Once ticketed, the journalists were released.

“What conceivable purpose is achieved by citing (the journalists) them with criminal charges?” the letter from Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish asks. “Once you knew they were journalists, why did you have to engage silly bureaucratic nonsense?”

The Reporters Committee has sponsored a legal hotline for journalists at every political convention since 1972.

Read the letter here:

http://www.rcfp.org/news/documents/20080905-protestlet.pdf

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The Republican version of democracy

September 6, 2008

from Muttering Jam:

Courtesy of Free Press.net:


Cops are targeting journalists for arrest

September 4, 2008

from Free Press:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: September 2, 2008
Contact: Craig Aaron, Free Press, (202) 265-1490, x25

WASHINGTON — Today Free Press, the national, nonpartisan media reform group, called on St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and local law enforcement officials to drop all charges against all journalists arrested while covering protests outside the Republican National Convention. Those arrested Monday include Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and two producers from her show, as well as a photographer from the Associated Press. Other independent journalists have been pepper-sprayed and even held at gunpoint during “pre-emptive” raids aimed at disrupting protesters. This follows the arrest of an ABC News producer at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, made the following statement:

“We condemn the arrest and harassment of journalists before and during the Republican National Convention. We call on the mayor, district attorney and police chief to rein in the overly aggressive — and even violent — tactics of law enforcement. Arresting and detaining journalists for doing their jobs is a gross violation of free speech and freedom of the press. We call for the immediate release of any journalists being held in the Twin Cities and for all charges to be dropped immediately. Reporting by independent journalists is the only way for the American public to learn the full story, and they must be free to do their jobs without intimidation.”

more here


RNC Arrests: Journalists, Medics Denied, Youth in Wheelchair

September 3, 2008

** PLEASE FORWARD **

Independent Voices producer, Morgan Diamond, and Elena Everett, the Community Media Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, documented a mass arrest at the RNC yesterday.

Diamond and Everett followed a group of young RNC protesters as police, clad in riot gear, corralled them into a parking lot, deployed concussion grenades and pepper spray, and arrested the youth en masse.  Pepper spray was used against a young man in a wheel chair who attempted to get out of the way of police on horseback.  Democracy Now! reporter Sharif Abdel Kouddous was arrested at the time.

Many of those detained had been hit with pepperspray, handcuffed, and put with their backs against a wall in the 90 degree sun.  People called for medical attention, but medics and legal observers where denied access.

Watch and share the video —> http://www.youtube.com/user/IndyVoices

If you are interested in using this footage, contact us at IndyVoices@yahoo.com or (919) 413-1276.

— Elena Everett
— Morgan Diamond
St. Paul, MN, September 2, 2008


Listen to RNC resistence radio!

September 2, 2008

Listen to RNC resistance radio on the following URL’s for live updates from the streets!
http://radio.indybay.org:8000/rnc.mp3.m3u — mostly talk
http://radio.indybay.org:8000/rnc2008.m3u — music, updates from cold snap legal and the tincan comms collective.


Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested At the

September 2, 2008

from Democracy Now!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
http://www.democracynow.org

September 1, 2008

Contact:
Denis Moynihan 917-549-5000
Mike Burke 646-552-5107, mike@democracynow.org

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:

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now!
producers who were being unlawfully 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 Sheriff 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.

Video of Amy Goodman’s Arrest:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ


Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman arrested at RNC protest

September 2, 2008

from the loophole:

Posted at 6:39 PM on September 1, 2008 by Sanden Totten (0 Comments)

Hours after the main march ended, spurts of protest were still popping up throughout the city of St. Paul. Groups of dissenters made their way around downtown, often followed by cops . . . and of course the media.

One crew in the midst of it was the group from the show Democracy Now! Details are still sketchy, but it’s been confirmed that the crew, along with the show’s politically outspoken host, Amy Goodman, have been detained. The stated reason seems to be the recent police favorite “probable cause for riot.”

Was the 51 year old host really about to start smashing the state? Or was she just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Who knows. You can hear the tape of her arrest here (language advisory! bad words). It’s hard to tell what she did, but the crowd freaks out when it happens:

“They’re arresting Amy Goodman?” “What are you guys doing!?! You can’t arrest Amy Goodman!” “Let her go!” “We love you Amy!”

Of course, as we found out earlier this weekend, Amy Goodman isn’t afraid to get in the thick of things . . . even when her right to do so may be questionable. Check out this video of her from the Uptake. Not a bad hop. Has she considered a go at the US Olympic track and field team?