North Dakota issues arrest warrant for ‘Democracy Now!’ host Amy Goodman

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The state of North Dakota has issued an arrest warrant for Democracy Now! host and executive producer Amy Goodman after her team covered Native American–led protests against the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

The arrest warrant issued Thursday shows Goodman was charged Sept. 3 with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor. On that day, Democracy Now! “filmed security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline company using dogs and pepper spray to attack protesters,” according to the show.

Goodman (Nick Bygone/Wikipedia)

Goodman (Nick Bygone/Wikipedia)

The report, which shows a security company siccing dogs on protesters who had crossed a fence where bulldozers were preparing land for pipeline construction, was rebroadcast or otherwise featured by CBS, NBC, NPR and other outlets. According to the show, the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation based the charge on a viewing of the report.

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

Democracy Now! is consulting with attorneys in North Dakota as well as at the Center for Constitutional Rights. CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy said, “This is clearly a violation of the First Amendment … an attempt to repress this important political movement by silencing media coverage.”

The North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board is investigating the security company’s use of dogs and whether the personnel were properly licensed and registered to work in the state, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

Goodman has previously been arrested as a result of reporting. In 2011, Goodman and other DN producers received $100,000 to settle their federal lawsuit against police authorities over their arrests while reporting on demonstrations outside the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

In addition to the cash payment, the city of St. Paul agreed to create a police training program on First Amendment rights of the press and the public, and on media relations during demonstrations.