Riot Charges Dropped Against Reporter at Pipeline Protest

Amy Goodman was accused of trespassing and rioting after her coverage
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2016 8:46 AM CDT
Riot Charges Dropped Against Reporter at Pipeline Protest
Journalist Amy Goodman, left, speaks with supporters in Mandan, ND, on Monday.   (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

Another arrest related to protests over a proposed oil pipeline in North Dakota is making headlines. In this one, journalist Amy Goodman was accused of participating in a riot while covering a protest that turned violent last month, but a judge rejected the charge on Monday, reports Gothamist. Goodman works for Democracy Now, and she posted video of the September altercation. She says she neither trespassed nor rioted, but prosecutors felt her video crossed the line. "She's a protester, basically," prosecutor Ladd Erickson told the Bismarck Tribune last week. "Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions." Native Americans are trying to block the pipeline because they say it would jeopardize their drinking water and disturb sacred ground.

"These charges are simply a threat to all journalists around the country: Do not come to North Dakota," said Goodman in a Facebook video. She may not be in the clear just yet, reports the New York Times. "I believe they want to keep the investigation open and see if there is any evidence in the unedited and unpublished videos that we could better detail in an affidavit for the judge," says Erickson, who is assisting the Morton County state attorney's office. Goodman was initially charged with trespassing before it was bumped up to rioting, which could have carried jail time. Goodman planned to plead not guilty on Monday, but the judge made that unnecessary when he did not sign the charging document. (More journalist stories.)

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