Four journalists, including AP photog, arrested on riot charges at RNC
Republican National Convention coverage
Update:Three more photojournalists arrested on felony riot charges are still in jail.
In what has been the most violent clash between police and protesters at the Republican National Convention, police ended up arresting four journalists trying to document the altercations.
The arrests include AP photographer Matt Rourke, who was held on a “gross misdemeanor riot charge” and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, who was charged with obstruction.
Goodman was arrested after she tried to intervene on the arrest of two Democracy Now! producers, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, who were charged with “conspiracy to riot”.
The video of Goodman’s arrest, posted below, received more than 60,000 views within hours after it was posted on Youtube Monday.
Before he was arrested, Rourke shot some of the most compelling photos that have been posted of the protest so far, including one photo where protesters have just smashed the windows of a police car as well as another photo of police shooting pepper spray at the protesters.
Judging by his proximity to the protesters, as opposed to the other photographers who are standing safely behind the police as they shoot pepper spray into the crowd, Rourke got a little too close for comfort, not that he broke any laws. His photos, four of which are posted here, are well-worth the arrest.
The arrests occurred after more than 10,000 people participated in an antiwar march through the streets of downtown St. Paul. After the peaceful protest, several hundred self-described anarchists turned violent, smashing windows, throwing bottles, slashing car tires and harassing republican delegates.
The Minnesota National Guard was called in and more than 250 people were arrested, including the four journalists.
“Covering news is a constitutionally protected activity, and covering a riot is part of that coverage,” AP spokesman David Ake said. “Photographers should not be detained for covering breaking news.”
All three (Democracy Now! journalists) were violently manhandled by law enforcement officers. Abdel Kouddous was slammed against a wall and the ground, leaving his arms scraped and bloodied. He sustained other injuries to his chest and back. Salazar’s violent arrest by baton-wielding officers, during which she was slammed to the ground while yelling, “I’m Press! Press!,” resulted in her nose bleeding, as well as causing facial pain. Goodman’s arm was violently yanked by police as she was arrested.
Late Monday night, police had already released the three Democracy Now! journalists and said they planned to release Rourke with no charges against him, something I doubt they would do if Rourke did not have the support of the AP behind him.
Check out an AP video of the protest below.