Judge dismisses ‘riot’ charges against Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman
On Friday, charges of criminal trespass were dismissed, today the judge said he did not find probable cause for the charge of engaging in a riot
Judge John Grinsteiner today dismissed ‘riot’ charges against journalist Amy Goodman. The hearing at the Morton County Courthouse involved the broadcasts journalist from Democracy Now! who filmed anti-pipeline protests in North Dakota.
“This is a complete vindication of my right as a journalist to cover the attack on the protesters, and of the public’s right to know what is happening with the Dakota Access pipeline,” said Goodman. “We will continue to report on this epic struggle of Native Americans and their non-Native allies taking on the fossil fuel industry and an increasingly militarized police in this time when climate change threatens the planet.”
The case was brought by State’s Attorney Ladd R. Erickson and was met with protestors outside the courthouse today, where on eyewitness reported one arrest.
Morton county courthouse right now pic.twitter.com/gtK6gHCyXR
— Caroline Grueskin (@cgrueskin) October 17, 2016
“These shifting charges were a transparent attempt by the prosecutor to intimidate Amy Goodman and to silence coverage of the resistance to the pipeline,” said Reed Brody, an attorney for Goodman. “Fortunately, these bully tactics didn’t work and freedom of the press has prevailed.”
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi last week penned a plea to have the charges dropped after he was told that the prosecutor was a fan of Taibbi’s work.
“Amy Goodman was clearly acting as a reporter at the protest. Moreover, she’s as close to the ideal of what it means to be a journalist as one can get in this business,” wrote Taibbi.
“But a prosecutor who arrests a reporter because he doesn’t think she’s “balanced” enough is basically telling future reporters what needs to be in their stories to avoid arrest. This is totally improper and un-American. We have enough meddling editors in this country without also recruiting government officials to the job. Mr. Erickson, thanks sincerely for reading, but please drop the charges,” said Taibbi.