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Amy Goodman Violently Arrested Today at RNC

Posted: Updated:

Story from Democracy Now site:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Democracy Now Site

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.

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.

THIS IS FROM ALLISON KILKENNY'S
UPDATE:

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.

Laurie, the phone operator at the County Jail says she "hopes charges will be presented within the hour." As of right now, Kouddous and Salazar are being held without charges.

9:50 PM EST: Kouddous and Salazar are still being held without charges. Laurie, the operator, now expects a few hours to expire before they are officially charged with a crime. She claims the slow process is due to an unusually high number of arrests coupled with many detainees using pseudonyms. More than 100 people were arrested along with Goodman and her producers.

Early reports indicate Kouddous and Salazar were originally arrested on suspicion of rioting .

11:00PM EST: The Ramsey County Jail redirected me to something called the "Joint Information Center." Under a little pressure, the operator finally revealed his name (Sgt. William Palmer,) though he asked for my name (had me spell it twice) and asked for my phone number in exchange. Friendly stuff.

Palmer informed me that Kouddous and Salazar will be held in jail overnight until they are taken to court tomorrow. No one knows what they are being charged with, but Palmer attributes their arrest to "suspicious behavior."

Kouddous and Salazar are still being held without any formal charges.

11:33PM: Kouddous and Salazar have been released. Sgt. William Palmer called me back and said they have been released with "Pending complaints," which essentially means they were not charged while in custody, but may yet be charged with some felony at a later date.

12:00AM: Democracy Now! has posted this 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.

Mayor Chris Coleman can be contacted at: 651-266-8510 or e-mailed at: https://mn-stpaul.civicplus.com/forms.asp?FID=69
Governor Tim Pawlenty can be reached at: (651) 296-3391 or e-mailed at tim.pawlenty@state.mn.us
Ramsey County Jail: 651-266-9350