Jounalist Amy Goodman faces warrant for documenting violent attacks at Standing Rock

An arrest warrant was issued for Goodman after she reported on a clash on September 3, when Standing Rock Sioux officials said crews bulldozed several sites of "significant cultural and historic value" on private land.

Award-winning reporter Amy Goodman faced potential prison time for reporting on authorities' harsh crackdown on peaceful protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, a massive $3.8 billion project that will transfer oil from North Dakota to IL.

All three instances last week involved people showing solidarity for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Grand Forks Herald asked Morton County District Attorney, Ladd Erickson, to elucidate his reason for arresting Goodman, who was clearly doing her job as an investigative journalist and news reporter.

Goodman told CPJ that when she arrived in North Dakota to challenge the earlier charge of trespassing, she learned that the charge had been dropped and prosecutors had filed a new charge of rioting. But in what would seem to be a clear sign of charge-shopping, the prosecutor, Ladd Erickson, switched up the crimes she had allegedly committed just days days before she was set to appear in court, because, he admitted in an email to Goodman's lawyer, there were "legal issues with proving the notice of trespassing requirements in the statute".

Delphine Halgand, U.S. director for Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said Monday afternoon: "We are relieved that the charges against Amy Goodman have been dismissed, but they never should have been filed in the first place". "We certainly will continue to cover this struggle".

Goodman said that the charges were changed because they authorities realized they couldn't make the trespassing "stick".

Goodman reported on a clash between protesters and pipeline security at a construction site September 3.

Goodman's show airs daily on hundreds of radio and TV stations and over the internet.

Goodman, for her part, declared: "Today the judge sided with freedom-with freedom of the press and the First Amendment-and that's a very, very sacred and important principle"-this, after delivering a rousing speech to largely Native American pipeline protesters, who voiced their approval with cheers and war whoops".

The news gathering process and journalists' right to access private and public grounds has always been a contentious issue, sparking landmark litigation around the First Amendment, which protects freedom of the press. Leading the charge are members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Journalist Matt Taibbi, author of the 2014 book, "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of Wealth", wrote an open letter to Erickson last week condemning his characterization of Goodman and demanding the trespass charge be dropped. The Bismarck Tribune reported that Goodman was one of six people facing charges, and Grinsteiner only found probably cause to charge one of them.

Journalist Amy Goodman in Mandan, N.D., before learning that a rioting charge was dismissed Monday. The video, she says, "went viral", with 14 million views and rebroadcasts on major cable network programs.

This is despicable and unsafe, but it's not qualitatively different from what prosecutor Erickson is trying: making the work of journalists seem something other than the search for facts in an effort to delegitimize what they discover.

The Red Warrior Camp's "Blake Snake Killaz", who have been at the forefront of the nonviolent direct actions at construction sites, also made a Facebook plea Thursday for "reinforcements from skilled and trained Warriors prepared to evict the Dakota Access Pipeline and protect our homelands and way of life". Erickson explained that he considers Goodman a protestor, not a journalist.

The protests have drawn thousands of people to the area where Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners is trying to wrap up construction on the $3.8 billion, 1,200-mile pipeline from North Dakota to IL.

Goodman then addressed a crowd of protestors gathered outside the Morton County Courthouse.

Kyle Kirchmeier, the local county sheriff, said he is continuing to investigate Goodman and others arrested at the protests and that prosecutors are still exploring options to move the case forward.

Goodman, who is based in NY, said she "came to North Dakota to cover this epic struggle. what we found was horrifying".

"I wasn't trespassing. I wasn't engaging in a riot".

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