Earlier today a judge in Morton County refused to sign off on charges of engaging in a riot the State of North Dakota filed against Democracy Now activist Amy Goodman, someone who describes herself as a journalist.
Via an open records request I obtained the state’s affidavit of probable cause in the case from Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent Lindsay Wold because I wanted to understand the evidence the state was presenting against Goodman. The case has drawn national attention, with many claiming that Goodman was charged for reporting on a September 3 conflict between #NoDAPL protesters and security guards protecting a pipeline construction site in a way that was favorable to the protesters.
You can read the affidavit in full below.
For one thing, it’s a harrowing read which completely undermines the idea promoted by Goodman and others that these protesters were attacked by the security guards. I’m not sure how anyone can read the facts and conclude anything other than that the protesters attacked the construction site and the security guards.
For another, it doesn’t reflect well on Goodman or her credibility as a journalist. This excerpt, in particular, citing the eyewitness testimony of security guard Ashley Welch sure makes it sound like Goodman wasn’t just observing and documenting the incident but was managing it for maximum drama for her video report:
I don’t understand why the judge in this case wouldn’t allow this matter to proceed. Again, Goodman was charged with engaging in a riot. Here’s the definition of “riot” under the North Dakota Century Code:
“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,” has said in a media release.
But Welch’s testimony directly contradicts that statement.
Who is telling the truth? Welch or Goodman? It would have been nice to see the matter adjudicated.
Here’s the full affidavit. It’s not terribly long and is worth your time to read.
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