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Goodman, et al. v. St. Paul, et al.

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Synopsis

Goodman, et al. v. St. Paul, et al. is a lawsuit brought on behalf of three journalists against federal and local Minneapolis and St. Paul law enforcement.  The lawsuit alleges that their policies and conduct during the RNC culminated in the unlawful arrests and unreasonable use of force against three Democracy Now! journalists, Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, violating their First Amendment rights as members of the press to report on matters of public concern and the public actions of law enforcement.

Status

On October 3, 2011 a settlement was announced which includes $100,000 for the plaintiffs as well as an agreement by the St. Paul police department to implement training aimed at educating officers about the First Amendment rights of the press and general public with respect to police operations - including police handling of media coverage of mass demonstrations. You can read CCR's press release here.

Description

Through pre-emptive raids and mass coordinated actions, local and federal law enforcement interfered with the media’s ability to report on public protest, civic engagement and on law enforcement’s activities around the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Law enforcement authorities arrested, questioned, detained and even brutalized journalists who were simply doing their job—covering the RNC and the protests around the Convention.

Scores of journalists and other members of the media were arrested, detained, assaulted and searched. Their belongings were also seized and searched, including their cameras, video and other media equipment. The journalists prominently displayed their press credentials throughout the incidents and repeatedly identified themselves as members of the media to the acting law enforcement.


Three of the journalists who were arrested and assaulted during the RNC were Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. On September 1, 2008 while covering the 2008 RNC for Democracy  Now! Nicole Salazar was cornered, assaulted and arrested by police, despite repeatedly identifying herself as a member of the press.  Following her arrest, Sharif Abdel Kouddous -a Democracy Now! producer with whom Nicole was videotaping police activity that day- was similarly arrested and assaulted by law enforcement.  When co-worker Amy Goodman heard of their arrests and came to the site to question officers about the incident and locate her colleagues she was also arrested.


Goodman, et al. v. St. Paul, et al. is a lawsuit brought on behalf of Goodman, Kouddous, and Salazar against the City of St. Paul, the City of Minneapolis, Ramsey County, John Harrington – chief of St. Paul police, Timothy Dolan – chief of Minneapolis police, Bob Fletcher – Sheriff of Ramsey County, an unidentified secret service agent, and multiple unidentified law enforcement officers to challenge the targeting by law enforcement of journalists during the 2008 Republican National Convention, the unlawful arrests of the journalists, and the use of excessive force.

Timeline

Goodman, et al. v. St. Paul, et al. was filed on May 5th 2010 in the United States District Court in the District of Minnesota.