Monday, September 1, 2008

Journalist Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC

I just came back from a very fun family visit where we all wished my father a very happy 80th birthday. We love him and he loves us.

I thought I would come back home and download some pictures and write about how my kids adore their older cousins and how much fun we siblings had laughing and joking with each other and my parents and how my mom got way too much food and how we all agree that that is what you do to be abundantly welcoming and it's just unavoidable...and delicious.

At my parents house, I was in news limbo and didn't watch anything except a bee video we got at our library (Did you know that if honeybees get rained on and then get cold, they're sort of paralyzed and just sit there getting soaked?) We all thought it was interesting. I didn't get on the computer all weekend, which these days is very rare. So, after we kissed my folks goodbye and came home and relaxed a little, I got online to read Daily Kos and Huffington Post.

It was there that I discovered that journalist Amy Goodman had been arrested outside the Republican National Convention. She was trying to find out about two of her producers who earlier had been arrested while covering thousands of protesters.

This is shocking, and wrong and scary. So, instead of writing about my weekend, I feel like screaming out to the world that our constitutionally protected freedoms are being trampled, ignored, stolen away and I hope people start to realize how unAmerican this behavior is...This is not democracy. Democracy is protecting the voices that you might not even agree with, but have the right to be heard. Speech is protected here. We are not a dictatorship. We are guaranteed rights by the constitution and the first of those specifically outlined is the 1st amendment where we learn we have these rights,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It's clear to me that those were the first things outlined to be fully protected because those are the things that allow for people to speak truth to power--what a democracy allows and demands. Use it, or lose it...If you can't think about God (or lack thereof, if you so choose) or talk about whatever the hell you want or meet people wherever you want and write it all up on a nifty blog or speak about it on Democracy Now! as Amy Goodman does every single day, then you really won't be in much of a democracy.

Here's a release from Democracy Now! explaining what happened to Amy.


September 1, 2008

Dennis Moynihan
Mike Burke

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, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here:

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfuly 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 Sherrif 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 Salazar. 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 Amenmdent 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.

Democracy 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.

Video of Amy Goodman’s Arrest:

This is not OK.


DoulaMomma said...

well, well, well...the numbers in that press release are not taking calls...not a single person is answering the phone in the mayor's office...

Anonymous said...

Next time she should stop trying to have a conversation with an officer in riot gear who is trying to maintain safety and order. Maybe she should also follow the directions of staying on the sidewalk....could have saved her a lot of trouble.
This isn't about getting your voice taken away, it's about literally crossing the line and putting others in danger of a riot situation.

Laura said...

The area was already secured. The line of officers was approached by her alone, her asking to see a superior to find out about her 2 producers who were earlier (wrongfully) arrested.

Amy Goodman was not approaching the officers in the midst of a riot--there were a bunch of them just standing there in a line at that point. She approached them from the front, with her press credentials clearly visible and her explaining that she had just come form the convention floor to inquire about her colleagues.

This is about getting your voice taken away--when journalists are arrested it's their voice and ours by proxy. That's why a free press is so important. It is our way as a society of shining the light on injustices and making sure we maintain a democracy.

If they start arresting journalists, there's no one left to show what is happening. Your voice is then gone.

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