Prosecutors Changing Charges Against Reporter To 'Rioting' Because Her Coverage Was Sympathetic To Protestors
from the can-we-teach-you-a-little-about-the-first-amendment? dept
On Friday, we wrote about the ridiculous arrest warrant for reporter Amy Goodman for reporting on the protests over the North Dakota oil pipeline. At the time, the charges against Goodman were apparently for trespassing, but late on Friday, the state’s attorney alerted Goodman’s lawyer that they were now actually trying to charge her with rioting. Say what?
?I came back to North Dakota to fight a trespass charge. They saw that they could never make that charge stick, so now they want to charge me with rioting, ” said Goodman. “I wasn?t trespassing, I wasn?t engaging in a riot, I was doing my job as a journalist by covering a violent attack on Native American protesters.”
Apparently, the state’s attorney, Ladd Erickson, figured out enough about the law to realize that trespassing charges would never stick because there needs to be notice before it’s trespassing, and no notice was presented. But Erickson is still really, really confused about how the First Amendment works. He told a local newspaper that Goodman’s reporting was illegal because it was sympathetic to the protestors. Really.
?She?s a protester, basically. Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions,? said Erickson
That’s uh, not how the First Amendment works. And it will be fascinating to see Erickson try to now justify the “riot” claims when the complaint itself admits that Goodman was interviewing protestors. Apparently the judge will decide later today if the riot charges will stand. One hopes that he understands the First Amendment more than the state’s attorney.