October 18, 2016
Riot charges against Amy Goodman have been dropped
by Ian Dreiblatt
Last week, we reported that journalist Amy Goodman, stalwart host of the news show Democracy Now!, had announced plans to return to Morton County, North Dakota to faces charges of criminal trespassing. Goodman had been arrested while documenting the massive and periodically violent protests against the construction of Dakota Access Pipeline, which a subsidiary of the Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners is attempting to build on land sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux.
On Friday, Goodman learned that prosecutor Ladd Erickson had upped the charges against her from trespassing to rioting.
But yesterday, when Goodman showed up for her day in court as promised, Judge John Grinsteiner dropped the charges against her, citing a lack of probable cause, and she was free to leave.
In a statement on the Democracy Now! website, Goodman said, “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. 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.”
Writing for the Bismarck Tribune, Caroline Grueskin reports that protestors came out to the front of the courthouse, where they beat drums and chanted “Mni Wiconi”—Lakota for “Water is life”—until fifty police officers showed up in riot gear, breaking up the crowd and arresting one person for disorderly conduct and disobedience of a public safety order under riot conditions.
Ian Dreiblatt is the director of digital media at Melville House.