They’ve already arrested Amy Goodman of Democracy Now (and many of her producers) for — what? Being a liberal journalist I guess. Who needs brownshirts when you have the Blue Shirts and SWAT teams at your beck and call?

Pacifica Radio Link

Here’s the Democracy Now link regarding her arrest and her subsequent release:


Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released After Illegal Arrest at RNC

Goodman Charged with Obstruction; Felony Riot Charges Pending Against Kouddous and Salazar

ST. PAUL–Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar have all been released from police custody in St. Paul following their illegal arrest by Minneapolis Police on Monday afternoon.

All three were violently manhandled by law enforcement officers. Abdel Kouddous was slammed against a wall and the ground, leaving his arms scraped and bloodied. He sustained other injuries to his chest and back. Salazar’s violent arrest by baton-wielding officers, during which she was slammed to the ground while yelling, “I’m Press! Press!,” resulted in her nose bleeding, as well as causing facial pain. Goodman’s arm was violently yanked by police as she was arrested. […]

Goodman was arrested while questioning police about the unlawful detention of Kouddous and Salazar who were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were arrested on suspicion of rioting, a felony. While the three have been released, they all still face charges stemming from their unlawful arrest. Kouddous and Salazar face pending charges of suspicion of felony riot, while Goodman has been officially charged with obstruction of a legal process and interference with a “peace officer.”

Democracy Now! forcefully rejects all of these charges as false and an attempt at intimidation of these journalists. We demand that the charges be immediately and completely dropped. […]

During the demonstration in which the Democracy Now! team was arrested, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force against protesters and journalists. Several dozen demonstrators were also arrested during this action, including a photographer for the Associated Press.

Funny, I don’t remember any Fox News people being arrested for covering the protests at the DNC. Guess being a conservative Republican hack (or playing one on TV) means you still have freedom of speech and the press. Being liberal? Not so much. Here’s the Washington Post story about these arrests:

“I was down on the convention floor interviewing delegates when I heard that two of our producers had been arrested,” said Goodman. “I ran down to Jackson and 7th Street, where the police had moved in.”

Goodman said that when she ran up to find out what was going on, she was also arrested.

“They seriously manhandled me and handcuffed my hands behind my back. The top ID [at the convention] is to get on the floor and the Secret Service ripped that off me. I had my Democracy Now! ID too. I was clearly a reporter.”

Goodman, who was released after being charged with a misdemeanor, said that Salazar had been hurt in the face, while Kouddous had been thrown up against a wall and hurt his elbow.

“Nicole told me that as they moved in on three sides, she asked them ‘How do I get away from this?’ and they jumped on her.”

Both Kouddous and Salazar could be held for up to 36 hours.

“One of the police kept shouting at me ‘Shut up, shut up,” she said. “It was extremely threatening.”

If McCain wins this sort of thing will become omnipresent at any official or political gathering. If Obama wins, does anyone believe the Secret Service will always have his back? When they (the Secret Service, that is) participate in roughing up and intimidating journalists solely because of their political or ideological leanings (I haven’t heard of any conservative reporters being arrested, have you?) what does that say about the kind of country we live in? How far away are we from a Putin-like Russian state where offensive journalists are murdered by the state under mysterious circumstances and opposition leaders are arrested on trumped up charges?

We’re on a razor’s edge at the moment by my reckoning. Cops don’t arrest people for no good reason unless they feel entitled to do so by their superiors. And those superiors don’t give them that authority unless they feel they have the backing of politicians and other authorities and power brokers who will back their play. Mayor Bloomberg’s mass arrests in NYC in 2004 were just the beginning. What we are witnessing in the Twin Cities this week (or not witnessing on mainstream media as the case may be) is frankly far too far down the rabbit hole for my liking.

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