Democracy Now! journalists sue police, Secret Service over ‘violent’ RNC arrests

From RawStory:

For what she called her “violent” arrest outside the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC), journalist and author Amy Goodman has joined with The Center for Constitutional Rights in filing a federal lawsuit against police and the Secret Service, issuing a stark challenge to policies governing their treatment of protesters.

Goodman said her producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were injured as police took them to the ground, with Salazar’s nose bloodied and Kouddous’s arm severely twisted. The whole time, they were demanding police not place them under arrest, shouting “Press! Press!” and waiving their media badges.

Instead, Goodman told RAW STORY during a Thursday conference call that unnamed Secret Service agents “ripped the credentials from around our necks” and police removed the batteries from their cameras, “which makes it very clear what they were after.”

The YouTube video of Goodman’s arrest quickly became the most popular clip on the site in the 2008 RNC’s first days.

“I think that’s what freed us after a number of hours,” she told reporters.

Goodman v. St. Paul seeks compensation and an injunction against law enforcement’s unjustified encroachment on First Amendment rights, including freedom of the press and the independence of the media,” The Center for Constitutional Rights summarized in an advisory.

“Attorneys say the government cannot limit journalists’ right to cover matters of public concern by requiring that they present a particular perspective; for instance, the government cannot require journalists to “embed” with state authorities,” they continued. “Goodman further asserts that the government cannot, in the name of security, limit the flow of information by acting unwarrantedly against journalists who report on speech protected by the First Amendment, such as dissent, and the public acts of law enforcement.”

goodmanarrest Democracy Now! journalists sue police, Secret Service over violent RNC arrests“The media are the eyes and ears of the American people—that is why there are laws to protect them,” CCR attorney Anjana Samant added. “Law enforcement and Secret Service agents are not exempt from those laws in their dealings with un-embedded journalists who are documenting peaceful protestors or law enforcement’s use of force and violence against those protestors [sic].”

“While most protesters demonstrated peacefully, some engaged in property damage, slashing car tires, throwing bottles, tipping trash bins and breaking windows of cars and buildings,” Democracy Now! reported shortly after the arrests. “One of the broken windows came in the building that houses Saint Paul Neighborhood Network—that’s SPNN —where Democracy Now! is broadcasting from this week.

“But police used harsh tactics, including chemical irritants, to disperse everyone, even those protesters who remained peaceful. Officers in riot gear fired teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets in a series of standoffs around the downtown St. Paul area.”

Police arrested 283 people during the RNC’s opening day and had in the weeks prior been engaging in targeted harassment of activists. Over 800 arrests were made during the convention. The New York Times noted that an estimated 50 of those detained were journalists.

Said Goodman: “Democracy is a messy thing and it’s our job to capture it all. We shouldn’t have to get a record to put things on the record.”

This video of Amy Goodman’s arrest is from outside the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, published to YouTube on Sept. 1, 2008.

This video of Nicole Salazar’s arrest is from outside the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, published to YouTube on Sept. 2, 2008.

This video of the 2008 RNC protests was captured by protesters on the scene and features some narration by a reporter from Minnesota citizen journalism outlet The Uptake, published Sept. 3, 2008.

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This video of the 2008 RNC protests was captured by protesters on the scene and features some narration by a reporter from Minnesota citizen journalism outlet The Uptake, published Sept. 3, 2008.



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  • ThumperNM 3 hours ago
    4 people liked this.
    Isn’t it odd how the TeaBaggers can hold rally’s and spit on Congressmen, shout racial epithets, bring loaded weapons to federal parks illegally, threaten sedition and disrupt anything they want and no one gets arrested? The double standard of arresting left wing protestors is patently obvious.
  • You must be proud to spread lies and twisted liberal talking points while being protected by the Constitution that the Obamanator is trying to destroy. What will you do when that protection is gone?
  • Hey nazi, why don’t stick that flag up your asshole!

    We’re are coming for you this time, nazi scum!

  • Satan 3 hours ago
    4 people liked this.
    A 22 year old anti war protester was awarded $169,000 and law enforcement ordered to pay his $350,000 legal bill after police in Washington State were found to be spying on his anti-war activities, resulting in his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving when he had no alcohol or drugs in his system while he was on his way to an antiwar protest.

    This is nothing new at all, look up the case of Judi Bari sometime.

  • Democratic_Socialist 41 minutes ago in reply to Satan
    Can you say FASCIST POLICE STATE?! How the hell can we fight back? Clue: We can’t….
  • NoOneYouKnow 32 minutes ago in reply to Democratic_Socialist
    1 person liked this.
    Maybe you can’t fight back, but everyone else can: lawsuits, legal protests, civil disobedience. Harass them as they harass you.
  • “They” (Our own “programmed” brothers and sisters) have the numbers and the hardware. Writing, protests and civil disobedience won’t happen on a large enough scale to make a difference due to the FEAR and APATHY in the bloated, lazy masses.
  • There is no possible way you can know that. Clearly you believe it, but there are too many variables to say for certain what will happen.

    At the end of the day you can only control your own efforts to improve things, or you can quit and give up the good fight.
    Fear and apathy will erode as more people lose their life savings and their security.
    I hope massive peaceful protests, national strikes, boycotts of corrupt corporations, and a few honest government insiders speaking out, will be enough to take back our country.
    Ultimately, it will be a numbers game. If enough people do the right thing, we will prevail.
    If enough people listen to you, the fascists win.

  • donofcali 3 hours ago
    3 people liked this.
    There is no doubt that Faux News republicon reporters were treated well, and Amy et. al. were physically abused because they are Liberals. I hope they succeed in winning as much money as possible.
  • I guarantee you if that was Glen Beck or whoever, it never would have gone down like that.. Our society now (from 25yrs ago) has a reich-wing grown and cultured, cowardly disease: zero risk tolerance. Shoot now and ask questions later: from the militarization of police to marines in the ME. It’s really messed up.
  • yaright 2 hours ago
    2 people liked this.
    the ss was only following the orders from the big dick.

    whimper whimper

  • pat 3 hours ago
    1 person liked this.
    Sad that this is what happens when you’re not part of the corporate media that is owned and controlled by pharmaceutical/energy/finance/auto/insurance industries. In America, it seems freedom of the press only applies when you report what THEY want you to report.
  • Akira 3 hours ago
    1 person liked this.
    I’m sympathetic to law enforcement up to point. I know a couple officers. They have a very short time to judge who is peaceful and who isn’t. They’re often shortstaffed, underpaid, undertrained, and overworked. Obviously, these are not acceptable as excuses. They’re factors for badly needed improvement.

    The paranoid culture fostered by Fox news and the GOP are making this bad situation worse. People, including officers, fear that Al Qaeda has somehow sent deadly ninjas into America. This is why the cops shoot, taze, and beat so quickly. In an imagined world full of Rambos, it’s unpopular to take a moment to calm things down.

  • overdoneputaforkinit 2 hours ago in reply to Akira
    I agree. Fox News is taking away our freedoms. Seriously. Inciting riot and violence against others is not protected free speech. Yet that is the effect Fox News has been having on police in this country. It’s like the cops are wanting to play soldier in Iraq with the demonstrators filling in as make-believe insurgents.
  • You are as full of shit as a Christmas turkey. The main problem is the left wing rhetoric and tactics like race baiting.
  • foxtrottango 22 minutes ago
    Welcome to fascist America, folks, at the bless of the GOP, Republican Party and five supreme court justices. I suppose there will be civil war when and if the GOP takes hold of the government again.

    This time let’s complete the war, get rid of all fthe racists, fascists and nazi in the USA!

    Soldiers, man your battle stations!

  • sergesret 26 minutes ago
    And where were the so-called “Oath Keepers” when these protesting American’s Constitutional Rights of Free Speech and Freedom of the Press were being violated? The were probably helping with the violating. They sure has hell didn’t lift a finger against it.
  • Amy Goodman is my hero.
  • jimbo92107 1 hour ago
    Cops in riot gear will treat all citizens as rioters. It’s the power of the costume. Take off the fucking storm trooper costume and maybe they’ll act like normal cops again.

    Quit dressing up like an invading army!

  • Notorious Kelly 1 hour ago
    Police can police their own, or we can do it.

    Fascist actions like those against Goodman are why cops now keep one hand on their gun at the donut shop.

    You guys better do some soul-searching about who you’re going to serve, because The People are riled up.

  • Git ’em Ms. Amy. Git ’em good. Sue their fascist asses for all they’ve got. I whole heartedly agree with Thumper. Freaking ‘baggers’ get to parade their xenophobia all over the place, packin’ them thar guns, preachin’ the hate, hatin’ Mexicans, and overall and in general being an obscene public nuisance but, Ms. Amy goes about the business of doing her job (quite admirably I would add) and she gets beat up by the pigs. Sauce for a goose is…
  • palmharbor 1 hour ago
    She and her associates should have brought automatic weapons like the tea baggers did at the white house etc. I hope she wins this.
  • Corporate Indu$trial Complex 2 hours ago
  • dennycrane 2 hours ago
    Good for Goodman.
  • Scott550 3 hours ago
    Good to see them sue, however, Amy Goodman is often WOEFULLY unprepared in interviews (both giving and receiving), and often has facts very wrong. I’m a proud progressive liberal, but bad journalism needs to be reported as much as anything.
  • morty62 3 hours ago in reply to Scott550
    3 people liked this.
    I have no idea what you’re talking about. Amy Goodman is always prepared for her interviews, giving and receiving. If only other journalists were a quarter the journalist she is. Can you give specific examples of her supposed unpreparedness or quoting of incorrect facts? The real question here is the use of police thuggery as a way to chill dissent. I was listening to her show when it all happened and also saw the video. Amy was inside the Republican convention when her crew was being arrested. She ran to try and prevent their arrest by presenting her completely legitimate credentials but was immediately arrested for doing absolutely nothing belligerent. Clearly, her crew was marked for harassment. Here’s the deal. If you don’t see someone breaking the law then you don’t arrest them. Is that so difficult?? You don’t get arrested (especially if you’re a journalist) for being around people breaking the law, or covering people breaking the law, or documenting how police are performing their duties. Is that so hard to do? If various police forces quit hiring dysfunctional sociopaths as cops we might actually have law enforcement that facilitate freedom and democracy rather than maliciously impede it. Bravo Amy! Stick it to the fascist bastards.
  • You have no idea?

    You seem to have a lot of knowledge about Amy, her arrest and her journalistic abilities.
    Yet you have no clue about any criticism of Amy, why in the world anyone would question her.

    Anyone who follows Amy, whether they support her or doubt her, surely knows about the whole lefty gatekeeper debate. Her funding sources have been documented and she cannot deny some dark right wing financiers in her past.

    The litmus test for most people with Amy was her reaction to 911.
    People who want an open discussion of the events, a new independent investigation and see nothing wrong with questioning the Bush version of 911 tend to despise Goodman. People who lean left, yet completely support the Bush version of 911, and cringe when 911 truth is discussed, tend to love Amy Goodman.

    If Amy Goodman had been open minded about 911 truth, if she had not reacted to it in an identical fashion to FoxNews hacks, she would have some credibility. Her lock step marching with establishment media on 911 truth put her on the outs with many progressives who had been fans of hers. I trusted Amy for years, but not anymore.
    Piss on her.
    This link gives a summary of why many progressives no longer trust Amy.…

    I suggest Scott550 knows this and made a quick comment about Amy. The lengthy response from morty, showing great knowledge about Amy, yet a total lack of understanding as to why anyone would question this bastion of journalism, shows that he is one of those liberals who totally believes the Bush version of 911 and does not support anymore talk about that subject.

    That link to the Portland Indymedia site takes a good unbiased look at Amy and her clever efforts to undermine the 911 truth movement.

  • enorceht 3 hours ago in reply to Scott550
    3 people liked this.
    if amy goodman is considered a bad journalist to you (i disagree about being unprepared or getting facts wrong) i wonder who you would consider as a good journalist ?
  • Glen Beck !!!
  • One who isn’t a gatekeeper.
  • You’re out of your mind. She is one of the best interviewers out there. Democracy Now! is a taste of what real journalism looks like. I would appreciate some examples of your BS slander – I suppose you’re a reich-winger (‘proud-progressive’, my a**), so you don’t post them. She continually hammers people for the real story; most won’t even appear on the show b/c they know what’s coming. The show depends on contributions from individuals and so is not subject to the will of politicians and does not accept ‘donations’ from corporations like corporate-controlled NPR. Read Amy’s book (with Moyers) for an inside look at the joke of a media in America today:…

    And for all you reich-wingers that read RS: watch Democracy Now! – it’s online for free. This is what fair and balanced actually looks like. You’ll have to re-adjust though. You’re no doubt used to having garbage spoon fed to you by the corporate ‘media’, so you’ll have to actually think while watching. No doubt the lack of flashy graphics and lengthy, detailed interviews will be a bit much for you. Try a little at first.

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