‘Democracy Now!’ journalists arrested at RNC

Three journalists with the popular radio program “Democracy Now!” were arrested in St. Paul while covering protests outside the Republican National Convention on Monday, including internationally acclaimed reporter Amy Goodman, the show’s host.

In the flurry of hundreds of convention-related arrests on Monday and the numerous pre-emptive raids conducted on houses before the event started, Goodman and crew were on the ground working and reporting for the show, which is broadcast to hundreds of radio and television stations across the country.

According to an online communique posted by show producers, Democracy Now! reporters Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were wrongfully placed under arrest by police on Monday evening, and when Goodman tried to talk to the police about their release she was also arrested:

Goodman recently spent time in Denver covering the Democratic National Convention, and less than a month before that, a reporter with The Colorado Independent appeared on Democracy Now! in a segment about law enforcement intelligence operations during the Dems’ convention, answering questions from Kouddous, one of the reporters who was arrested.

All three journalists have been released. Goodman has been charged with obstruction, while felony riot charges are pending against Kouddous and Salazar. The show is rejecting the charges against the reporters and is condemning the Twin Cities’ law enforcement for violating freedom of the press.

Goodman wrote a nationally syndicated news column in August titled “Don’t cage dissent at conventions,” stating that “the bulwark against tyranny is dissent.”

Another guest on that segment was Eileen Clancy, citizen journalist and founder of I-Witness Video, an organization that works to videotape police malfeasance in public. Clancy issued an urgent press statement on Saturday, reporting that the house where I-Witness Video was staying in St. Paul was being surrounded and raided by police, ending in five arrests.

Stay tuned to The Colorado Independent’s sister site, The Minnesota Independent, for more coverage. Immediate breaking news can also be found on the Minnesota Independent twitter feed.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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