Amy Goodman, the host of news program Democracy Now!, is reportedly facing criminal trespassing charges in Morton County, North Dakota after covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
According to WDAZ, an arrest warrant has now been issued for the journalist. “This is an unacceptable violation of freedom of the press,” Goodman said in a statement posted on the Democracy Now! website. “I was doing my job by covering pipeline guards unleashing dogs and pepper spray on Native American protesters.”
The controversial project has sparked intense and growing protests, particularly from the Native American community led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who argue it will disturb sacred sites and put the environment at risk.
On Sept. 3, Goodman and her crew recorded footage of a clash between security guards at the pipeline and protestors. The guards appeared to use pepper spray against protestors before being forced to retreat. One man showed what he said was a bite from a dog on his arm, and one dog had blood on its nose and mouth.
Tribal officials said workers bulldozed sacred sites on private land one week ago, but Energy Transfer Partners denied the claims. A tribal spokesman said six people were bitten by dogs and at least 30 people were pepper-sprayed. Four private security guards and two guard dogs were injured, according to officials.
An arrest warrant was also issued Wednesday in Morton County for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. She is accused of spray-painting construction equipment during a protest and is charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass and criminal mischief.
Stein stood by her actions. “This would be another deadly blow to a climate teetering on the brink. It cannot be allowed to go forward,” she said in a statement.
If completed, Energy Transfer Partners’s $3.8 billion-project will cross four states and carry 570,000 barrels of light crude oil per day. The pipeline is planned to run under the Missouri River, not far from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
On Friday, the federal government ordered a work stoppage on one section of the project in North Dakota. The decision came after a judge refused the Standing Rock Sioux’s request that construction be halted.
The tribe claimed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had failed to adequately protect water supplies and sites of cultural significance, but U.S. District Judge James Boasberg denied the request for a temporary injunction.
Three federal agencies requested the pipeline’s builder implement a “voluntarily pause” around Lake Oahe.
“This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects,” the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior said in a joint statement. “We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. “
“A public policy win is a lot stronger than a judicial win,” Dave Archambault II, tribe chairman, said at the time. “Our message is heard.”
The Associated Press contributed reporting.