UPDATED to Include New Footage of Bizarre Mass Arrests in St. Paul...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2008, 11:34am PT  

To nobody's suprise, Democracy Now! announces that charges against journalist Amy Goodman and two other staff journalists arrested while doing their job covering protests at the Republican National Convention are being dropped by the City of St. Paul. Journalists intimidated. Mission accomplished...

The St. Paul City Attorney’s office announced Friday it will not prosecute Democracy Now! journalists Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman also issued a statement Friday that “the city will decline to prosecute misdemeanor charges for presence at an unlawful assembly for journalists arrested during the Republican National Convention.”

Both announcements come two weeks after the conclusion of the Republican National Convention where over 40 journalists were arrested while reporting on protests taking place outside the convention center.

Upon learning of the news, Democracy Now! Host, Amy Goodman said, “It’s good that these false charges have finally been dropped, but we never should have been arrested to begin with. These violent and unlawful arrests disrupted our work and had a chilling effect on the reporting of dissent. Freedom of the press is also about the public’s right to know what is happening on their streets. There needs to be a full investigation of law enforcement activities during the convention.”
...
John Lundquist, attorney for the Democracy Now! journalists, said, “The most notable lapse by law enforcement during the RNC was the record-breaking number of journalists indiscriminately arrested and detained for doing nothing more than performing in the best tradition of reporters who gather the news.”

Chris Bowers has more thoughts on the arrests of journalists, and the dropped charges, and what he alleges amounted to 'a deal' of sorts between the RNC and the St. Paul cops.

Videos of DN! reporter Nicole Salazar being assaulted by the police (:23 seconds) and Goodman's outrageous arrest while peacefully trying to learn what had happened to her reporters (:49 seconds), both follow below...



UPDATE: New footage was released late last week (said by the videographers to have been "buried" until now to avoid confiscation) of a bizarre mass arrest by St. Paul police. Scores of seemingly peaceful folks just sitting in a park are seeing being seized by riot squads. "LisaG," posting at Firedoglake, notes:

My personal favorite moment in the tape is an off-camera exchange. Police in riot gear have surrounded loungers in a waterfront park. They announce, "Ladies and Gentlemen, You're Under Arrest" and you hear one young woman say incredulously "Are you serious?"

Yep, I'm afraid they are.

* * *

UPATE 10/5/11: Minneapolis, St. Paul police departments and the Secret Service agree to $100,000 payment to settle federal lawsuits filed by journalists. More details now here...