ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time on September 1st. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. She had approached the police line to inquire about the status of two Democracy Now! producers who had been previously arrested.
Goodman is being charged with obstruction; while felony riot charges are pending against both of the producers. All three were violently manhandled by law enforcement officers.
During his attest producer 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. Also arrested was producer Nicole Salazar who was violently arrested 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.
“I was down on the convention floor interviewing delegates when I heard that two of our producers had been arrested,” said Goodman. “I ran down to Jackson and 7th Street, where the police had moved in.”
Goodman said that when she ran up to find out what was going on, she was also arrested.
“They seriously manhandled me and handcuffed my hands behind my back. The top ID [at the convention] is to get on the floor and the Secret Service ripped that off me. I had my Democracy Now! ID too. I was clearly a reporter.” – Amy Goodman on The Washington Post
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 and demands 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.
Editor’s Note: This story was drawn from Democracy Now! news releases with a quote attributed to the Washington Post. Democracy Now! is a nationally syndicated, daily, independent, award-winning public TV and radion news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez that airs on 700 radio and TV stations in the United States and around the world.