Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were arrested yesterday by St. Paul police outside the Republican National Convention. Kouddous and Salazar were covering the protests and filming when they were arrested and detained. Both Kouddous and Salazar had proper press identification but were manhandled by police. Salazar was dragged by her leg and received scrapes and a bloody nose. Kouddous was slammed against a wall which has resulted in chest and back pain. Amy Goodman was arrested after she approached police and asked to speak to a commanding officer regarding her producers. Police then yanked her by the arm and arrested her. Video is below:
Amy Goodman was released and is being charged with obstruction of a legal process and interference with a peace officer. There have conflicting reports on whether Kouddous and Salazar have been released, but I just placed two calls to the Ramsey County Detention Facility where they confirmed that both were still being held and have not yet been booked. I attempted to confirm the reports that both were being charged with a felony of suspicion to riot, but the jail could not confirm this at the time. I have left a message with the Mayor's office of St. Paul for comment, but at the time of this article, have not had my call returned. I should also note that my first call to the Ramsey County Detention Facility resulted in the woman on the other end of the line becoming very confused as I attempted to spell: Sharif Abdel Kouddous. When I told her that I would be spelling three parts of his name she stated, "just how many names does this guy have." I informed her that I was asking about one person to which she replied, "I bet this guy had a hard time learning how to spell this in kindergarten."
While an employee of Ramsey County Detention Facility feels that detaining journalists is a time for jokes, all those who hold freedom of the press as an important right should be calling for the immediate release of Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar as well as for dropping all charges against them. In a society that depends on an independent press it is imperative that journalists are not arbitrarily arrested and held on trumped-up charges. Below is a video of Amy Goodman discussing the arrests after her release.
You can call the Mayor of St. Paul to weigh in on this issue at:
You can also reach the Ramsey County Detention Facility at:
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