Veteran journalist Amy Goodman was in Morton County, North Dakota on Monday, October 17 to respond to charges stemming from her on-the-ground reporting on Dakota Access Pipeline protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Goodman was originally charged with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in prison, but on Friday prosecutor Ladd Erickson changed her crime to “participating in a riot.”
In early September Goodman reported attacks on Native Americans by security guards who used dogs and pepper spray to stop the unarmed protesters. The video went viral and forced mainstream media outlets to report the events, sparking wider outrage against the construction of the pipeline.
Goodman has hosted Democracy Now for the past 20 years. She and her staff have won numerous awards for their ground-breaking journalism.
Goodman said the dismissal of charges by District Judge John Grinsteiner is a victory for the First Amendment. “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,” she said.
Democracy Now airs on KZMU from 8-9 am and 6-7 pm Monday through Friday.