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Amy Goodman: Charges Dropped in Pipeline Protest Arrest

Image: Amy Goodman: Charges Dropped in Pipeline Protest Arrest

Journalist Amy Goodman, left, speaks with supporters in Mandan, North Dakota, before learning the rioting charge filed against her was dismissed Monday. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 18 Oct 2016 10:48 AM

Amy Goodman had criminal charges dropped against her after the news program host's arrest during a Dakota Access Pipeline protest on Sept. 3 in North Dakota.

Prosecutors initially charged Goodman with criminal trespassing after following protesters, many from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as they crossed a fence to confront bulldozers that plowed over what they claimed were sacred grounds, National Public Radio reported.

Special assistant state's attorney Ladd Erickson, though, pursued a riot charge against Goodman instead, but District Court Judge John Grinsteiner decided Monday there was not enough probable cause to pursue the case, NPR noted.

"The judge's decision to reject the state's attorney Ladd Erickson's attempt to prosecute a journalist — in this case, me — is a great vindication of the First Amendment and of our right to report," Goodman said on her "Democracy Now" website.

"… And the important role of a journalist is to go to where the silence is. We should not be alone in the major media coming to cover this historic unification of Native Americans from more than 200 tribes, from Latin America to the United States to Canada. All of the media should be there, given the scope of this struggle," Goodman continued.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier told NPR that journalists must obey the law when covering a story.

"Any journalist who comes out here or news media outlet that wants to see what going on can definitely come out do it," Kirchmeier said, according to NPR. "But while they are they there, they cannot break the laws, just like anybody else. So they can't trespass on private property unless they have permission and that type of thing. So that's what this is about."

Hundreds of protesters, many from the Native American tribes, have traveled to the Cannonball and Missouri rivers area to protest the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline that will come within a half-mile of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and under the Missouri River, NBC News reported.

Protesters have charged that the pipeline will harm the area's drinking water and disturb sacred tribal sites.

"Divergent" actress Shailene Woodley was arrested for criminal trespassing at the protest site last week with 26 other people, E! News reported.

A Facebook video of the protest and Woodley's arrest has been viewed more than 4 million times.

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Amy Goodman had criminal charges dropped against her after the news program host's arrest during a Dakota Access Pipeline protest on Sept. 3 in North Dakota.
amy goodman, charges, pipeline, protest
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2016-48-18
Tuesday, 18 Oct 2016 10:48 AM
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