Wednesday, September 17, 2008

UPDATE on Charges against Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar

Drop the Charges Now!

This is an update on the charges against Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Sharif and Nicole were violently arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Amy was arrested requesting their release.

The Ramsey County Attorney has issued the following statement:

"Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were arrested for probable cause riot and later released pending further investigation. The St. Paul Police Department has stated those cases will not be presented to the County Attorney’s Office for consideration of possible felony charges. Instead, the Police Department will submit the cases to the St. Paul City Attorney’s Office for consideration of possible non-felony charges."

While the felony charges have been dropped, Sharif and Nicole still face misdemeanor charges. Sharif and Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films were also issued a citation for unlawful assembly after being arrested for covering a separate protest on the final day of the RNC.

The St. Paul police have issued a citation to Amy Goodman charging her with misdemeanor obstruction of a legal process and interference with a peace officer. She was arrested while questioning police about the unlawful detention of Sharif and Nicole on the first day of the convention.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has hired two former Republican federal prosecutors – former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger and former assistant U.S. Attorney Andy Luger – to review the city’s security plan for the RNC. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "the independent review will not be a fact-finding mission to explore allegations of police wrongdoing or violations of people's rights, Heffelfinger said."

Contact St. Paul City Attorney and Mayor by all means possible to demand that all charges be dismissed immediately.

St. Paul City Attorney John Choi
john.choi at ci.stpaul.mn.us (cc: dropthecharges at democracynow.org)
(651) 266-8710

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
mayor at ci.stpaul.mn.us (cc: dropthecharges at democracynow.org)
(651) 266-8510

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, as was a photographer for the Associated Press.

Donate to Democracy Now!
Video of DN! Arrests & Online Update
Media Coverage of Journalist Arrests at RNC

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