Prosecutor Seeks "Riot" Charges Against Amy Goodman For Reporting on Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

On Friday, a North Dakota state prosecutor filed charges of participating in a “riot” against Democracy Now! host and award-winning journalist Amy Goodman for filming a pipeline protest in September, according to Democracy Now!. Related criminal trespassing charges against Goodman had previously been dropped.


The charges stem from a reporting project Goodman and her Democracy Now! team undertook to cover thousands of Native Americans protesting a planned $3.8 billion oil pipeline that would rip through sites sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

On September 3, Goodman’s team filmed the protests, which began in April, but had previously received little coverage, as Lizzy Ratner writes for The Nation:

“Goodman’s arrival at the main protest site, the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, was significant. At the time, not a single one of the major broadcast networks had sent a reporter to cover the Standing Rock mobilization; none had even bothered to mention it on the air.”

Democracy Now!’s report on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, which showed guards attacking protesters with pepper spray and dogs, went viral, garnering more than 14 million views.

Three days after the segment aired, the Obama administration announced a temporary ban on the pipeline project and asked Dakota Access to “voluntarily” cease construction altogether.

On Monday morning, Goodman will be required to report to local authorities at the Morton County-Mandan Combined Law Enforcement and Corrections Center in Mandan, North Dakota. District Judge John Grinsteiner will then decide whether there is probable cause for the riot charge.


Goodman said of the fresh charges against her, “I came back to North Dakota to fight a trespass charge. They saw that they could never make that charge sick, so now they want to charge me with rioting. 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.”

contributing writer, nights



These charges won’t stick either. It’s harassment, probably meant to inflict legal costs and stress on her, while making an example out of her to scare other journalists.