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, a s they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ
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 S alazar. 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.
Demo cracy 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.
When are people going to wake up and realize that when one person’s rights are eclipsed, so are everyone else’s? Americans tend to forget the idea of precedent, and I don’t like the implications of what went on in Minneapolis on Monday. It only stands to get worse this week. What are they gonna do next, arrest Ron Paul for talking about the Federal Reserve?
I have an idea: Why don’t we create “Police Zones,” cages marked off by chain link fences such as we saw in Denver for the protesters? All the police can go in there, and as long as they are in these marked areas, they can arrest whomever they want. Outside those zones, the Bill of Rights shall hold sway.
Finally, just what the hell is “suspicion of rioting”? It sounds to me like nothing more than a convenient excuse to arrest people.