'Riot' Charge Dropped Against Amy Goodman For Covering Pipeline Protest

Posted October 25, 2016

Defense attorney Tom Dickson maintains Goodman was doing her job. Even though the charges have now been dropped, this still speaks volumes about mainstream media and the USA legal system.

An unprecedented gathering of Native American protesters has emerged over the past month to protest against the pipeline, which is scheduled to transport fracked crude from the Bakken oil field in North Dakota to a refinery near Chicago. The tribe fears it could pollute the Missouri River, which would in turn destroy theirs and millions of other people's drinking water.

The protests have drawn thousands of people to the area where Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners is trying to wrap up construction on the $3.8 billion, 1,200-mile pipeline from North Dakota to IL. News stories displayed here appear in our category for US Headlines and are licensed via a specific agreement between LongIsland.com and The Associated Press, the world's oldest and largest news organization. Hundreds of protestors were trying to stop a crew of bulldozers from digging up the earth-this earth, which DAPL says, "belongs to nobody".

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"People have gone through the fence, men, women, and children. They've been flying over it, saying, 'Hope it worked out for y'all.' In the meantime, Indian arrests have been consistent, there's no infrastructure, native people are treated like third-class citizens, suicide rates-everything's going on and the governor is acting like this is MS". One of the charges was against protest organizer Cody Hall.

Goodman's dispatch on the use of dogs went viral and has since garnered 14m views on Facebook and also prompted coverage from many news outlets, including CBS, NBC, NPR and CNN.

Goodman, a journalist for more than two decades, is a recipient of dozens of awards, including the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for excellence in broadcast journalism. A federal appeals court ruling on Sunday cleared the way for work to resume on private land in North Dakota that's near a camp where thousands of protesters supporting tribal rights have gathered for months. Fox says she wasn't an active particpant in the protest, but merely covering it. She later won $100,000 from the state in a first amendment lawsuit. She didn't go to the protest with pepper spray, an attack dog, or a colourful sign relaying her feelings of dismay over the DAPL. She has been arrested in the past, most notoriously in 2008, when Goodman and other journalists were arrested as they covered the 2008 Republican National Convention and accompanying protests in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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"This arrest warrant is a transparent attempt to intimidate reporters from covering protests of significant public interest", Carlos Lauría, a senior program coordinator for the Americas at CPJ, explained. "Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions", said Erickson, adding that her coverage of the September 3 protest did not mention that people trespassed during the incident or the alleged assaults on guards.

"The important issue is that the prosecutor is raising the content of our coverage".

Goodman observes in response: "We have a 1st Amendment". And while some states have passed laws to codify news gathering practices, issues are generally solved via the courts, which tend to rule journalists can't trespass or break the law while gathering the news. There's a reason why our profession is the only one explicitly protected in the U.S. Constitution - because we're supposed to be the check and balance on power. If the state doesn't like what we are reporting, that is not an arrestable offense.

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