Cities, U.S. government to pay $100,000 settlement over arrest of three journalists during 2008 Republican National Convention
Three U.S. journalists will receive a $100,000 settlement for their arrests during the 2008 Republican National Convention, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Journalist Amy Goodman, host of the syndicated "Democracy Now!" radio program, and producers Nicole Salazaar and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, along with about 40 or 50 other journalists and 800 demonstrators and bystanders, were arrested while covering protests outside the convention in St. Paul, Minn. All charges against the journalists since have been dropped, but Goodman and her colleagues sued in 2010 over the "police crackdown on journalists," according to Democracy Now.
As part of the settlement, the twin cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis agreed to pay a combined $90,000, and the U.S. government will pay $10,000, reported the Pioneer Press. The two cities also will develop a policy and training for police officers to avoid stepping on the First Amendment rights of journalists covering protests, and in the next three months that policy will be shared with the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press and the ACLU of Minnesota.
In light of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests, and the upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions next year, the settlement "should be a warning to police departments around the country to stop arresting and intimidating journalists, or engaging in any unlawful arrests. We shouldn't have to get a record while trying to put things on the record," Goodman wrote in The Guardian.
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