Journalist issued arrest warrant for reporting on protests in North Dakota

Democracy Now! co-host Amy Goodman is the latest victim of Morton County, N.D., police after reporting on Saturday, Sept. 3, from a Dakota Access Pipeline construction site where protesters had gathered, the 59 year-old journalist now faces criminal trespassing charges.

Local Native American groups in North Dakota and environmentalists from around the country have demonstrated at building sites since early August, protesting against a pipeline that will connect oil fields in the northwest region of the state to main lines in Illinois.

On Tuesday, Green Party presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, was photographed spray painting a construction site bulldozer in Morton County, with the words “I approve this message”, and subsequently charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and trespassing charges.

Stein’s vice-presidential running mate, Ajamu Baraka, has also been charged with the same crimes after spray painting “We need decolonization,” on the bulldozer’s blade.

Goodman has been issued an arrest warrant by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and faces one Class B misdemeanor, a criminal trespassing charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“This is an unacceptable violation of freedom of the press,” said Goodman in a statement. “I was doing my job by covering pipeline guards unleashing dogs and pepper spray on Native American protesters.”

Authorities also identified one Cody Charles Hall of South Dakota from the above video, a protest organizer with Red Warrior Camp, an anti-Dakota pipeline group. Hall was arrested on Friday after being pulled over by police for driving a vehicle with expired tags and was charged with three misdemeanors, all trespassing violations.

Mr. Hall will be housed in the Morton County jail until at least Monday when he will appear before a judge, according to a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

As of Saturday, 38 arrests have been made as a result of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

On Friday, the Justice Department, in conjunction with the Army Corp of Engineers and the Interior Department, temporarily suspended pipeline construction on public lands, overruling a District Court judge’s earlier decision.

 

[WDAZ-8 Grand Forks] [Democracy Now!] [Photo courtesy Andrew Cullen/Reuters via The Atlantic]