The cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the U.S. Secret Service, have settled with Amy Goodman and other Democracy Now! journalists who sued over their arrests while covering the 2008 Republican National Convention.
The lawsuit alleged that police and other law enforcement officials violated the First Amendment rights of Goodman, her producers and other journalists by interfering with their right to gather news.
“When journalists are arrested, it is not only a violation of the freedom the press, but of the public’s right to know,” Goodman said in statement. “When journalists are handcuffed and abused, so is democracy. We should not have to get a record when we put things on the record.”
As part of the settlement, the cities and the U.S. Secret Service will pay a total of $100,000. The journalists will have their arrest records expunged and the St. Paul police department will review and share its training policy dealing with the media that cover public demonstrations.
According to the Democracy Now website, Salazar was filming a demonstration outside the Republican National Convention when riot police cornered her, forced her violently to the ground, bloodying her face, handcuffed her and disabled her camera, all while ignoring her protests that she was a member of the press. Kouddous, who was also covering the protests, tried to come to Salazar’s aid by explaining to the police they were journalists; the police slammed him against the wall and repeatedly kicked him in the chest.
Goodman, hearing that her colleagues were arrested, rushed to the scene from the convention floor and asked to speak with a supervising police officer. Without any lawful basis, police pulled Goodman over a police line and arrested her. All three journalists were detained for several hours. Kouddous was again unlawfully arrested three days later along with a large group of journalists. All charges against the journalists were later dropped.