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Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! Producers File Lawsuit over RNC Arrests

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Democracy Now! host and executive producer Amy Goodman, along with producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, are filing a federal lawsuit today that challenges the police crackdown on journalists at the Republican National Convention in 2008. [includes rush transcript]

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Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, three of us here at Democracy Now!, producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Nicole Salazar and I, are filing a federal lawsuit today that challenges the police crackdown on journalists at the Republican National Convention in 2008. The suit is filed against the Minneapolis and St. Paul Police Departments, the Ramsey County Sheriff and unidentified Secret Service personnel. The lawsuit challenges the policies and conduct of law enforcement during the RNC that resulted in our arrests. We were among dozens of journalists arrested in St. Paul.

On the opening day of the Republican National Convention, Nicole Salazar and Sharif Abdel Kouddous were covering a police crackdown on a street protest. Nicole’s camera captured her arrest and assault by the officers.

    NICOLE SALAZAR: Watch out! Watch out! Press!

    POLICE OFFICER: Get out of here! Move!

    NICOLE SALAZAR: Where are we supposed to go? Where are we supposed to go?

    POLICE OFFICER: Get out of here!

    NICOLE SALAZAR: Dude, I can’t see! Ow! Press! Press! Press!

    POLICE OFFICER: Get down! Get down on your face! On your face!

    NICOLE SALAZAR: I’m on my face!

    POLICE OFFICER: Get down on your face!

    NICOLE SALAZAR: Ow! Press! Press!

AMY GOODMAN: That was Nicole shouting, "Press, press!" as the police shouted, "On your face!" And that was her screaming as they took her down. Shortly after, I arrived and was arrested while questioning the officers about Sharif and Nicole’s arrests.

    DENIS MOYNIHAN: Release the accredited journalists!

    AMY GOODMAN: Where’s the reporters? Sir?

    POLICE OFFICER: Ma’am, get back to the sidewalk.

    DENIS MOYNIHAN: Release the accredited journalists now!

    AMY GOODMAN: Sir, just one second. I was just running from the convention floor.

    DENIS MOYNIHAN: You are violating my constitutional rights. You are violating their constitutional rights.

    POLICE OFFICER: Sidewalk now!

    AMY GOODMAN: Sir, I want to talk to your superior —

    POLICE OFFICER: Arrest her?

    AMY GOODMAN: Do not arrest me!

    POLICE OFFICER: You’re under arrest.

    POLICE OFFICER: Hold it right there. You’re under arrest. Stay right there. Back up. Back up.

    POLICE OFFICER: Everybody, you cross this line, you’ll be under arrest, so don’t do it.

    CROWD: Let her go!

AMY GOODMAN: The lawsuit we’re filing today seeks compensation and an injunction against law enforcement’s unjustified encroachment on First Amendment rights, including freedom of the press and the independence of the media.

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