“Trespasser” and Democracy Now Anchor Amy Goodman Turning Herself in to North Dakota Authorities

Today, on one hour daily independent news program Democracy Now, anchor and reporter Amy Goodman announced that she will turn herself in to North Dakota authorities on Monday, October 17 for trespassing.

Update: Amy Goodman is now facing more severe charges. From the Democracy Now website:

“I came back to North Dakota to fight a trespass charge. They saw that they could never make that charge stick, so now they want to charge me with rioting,” said Goodman. “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.”

On September 3, Amy Goodman apparently entered private property to film and report the long-running protest against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project.

Amy Goodman broadcasted a report from the site, revealing that private security released dogs to attack the protestors. No one was arrested at the time, but county attorney Ladd Erickson later obtained a warrant against Amy Goodman for trespassing. The report was an online viral hit.

Democracy Now!’s report went viral online, was viewed more than 14 million times on Facebook and was rebroadcast on many outlets, including CBS, NBC, NPR, CNN, MSNBC and the Huffington Post.

From today’s program announcement:

And an update on our coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the resistance to it. Democracy Now will be heading back to North Dakota to continue our coverage of the stand off at Standing Rock.

As has been reported here and elsewhere, as a result of Democracy Now’s reporting over the Labor Day weekend last month, I was charged by the State of North Dakota with criminal trespass. A warrant was issued for my arrest on September 8th, five days after we released video of the Dakota Access Pipeline company’s security guards physically assaulting non-violent most Native American land protectors, pepper spraying them, and unleashing attack dogs, one of which was shown with blood dripping from its nose and mouth.

I will be turning myself in to authorities at the Morton County Jail, North Dakota, on Monday morning 8:00 North Dakota time and intend to vigorously fight the charge as I see it as a direct attack on First Amendment freedom of the press and the public’s right to know.

Amy Goodman created program Democracy Now twenty years ago and has been anchoring the program and reporting news for twenty years. Before that, she had been reporting for years, including ten years as news director of independent New York City radio station WBAI.


Ladd Erickson does not believe that people who report protests are reporters because he disagrees with the protests. According to yesterday’s scoop by Bismarck Tribune:

McLean County State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson, who is prosecuting the case for Morton County, said he sees no difference between her and other anti-pipeline demonstrators charged with trespass.

“She’s a protester, basically. Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions,” said Erickson, adding that her coverage of the Sept. 3 protest did not mention that people trespassed during the incident or the alleged assaults on guards.

“Is everybody that’s putting out a YouTube video from down there a journalist down there, too?” he asked.

Amy Goodman is facing up to 30 days in jail for her report.


In an earlier report, the Justice Department had requested that construction of the pipeline be halted just minutes after a federal court ruled that construction may continue.

Since then, a federal appeals court upheld the lower court ruling.

A federal appeals court Sunday night denied a Native American tribe’s request for an injunction to block construction of a four-state crude oil pipeline that tribal leaders say threatens their water supply and traverses culturally sacred sites… The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit quietly issued its ruling in the evening hours on the night before Columbus Day.

Also, construction has resumed and more protesters have been arrested. The project is “virtually complete” — this despite requests by the Barrack Obama administration to wait.