PEN Center USA objects to the arrest and the charges made against Native American journalist Jenni Monet, who was covering protests against the North Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota.
“Monet was wearing press credentials as she covered ongoing protests near the Standing Rock reservation. She provided her credentials to an officer when asked, but was arrested Feb. 1, at 4 p.m., Central, near protest encampments along Highway 1806. Monet was held for approximately 30 hours and was not released until 9 p.m., Feb. 2. She faces charges of criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot from Morton County prosecutors.”
—High Country News
A statement was released by Indian Country Today Media Network reiterating her press credentials.
“Monet was arrested as authorities rounded up about 75 “water protectors” attempting to set up a new protest camp on private land near the Cannonball River. Police moved in Wednesday afternoon to prevent the establishment of the “Last Child Camp,” locking down the area with highway barricades.
The arresting officer did not read Monet her Miranda rights, she said. She was loaded onto a school bus and held for seven hours with other women, “stripped down to our long johns,” in metal cages in a Morton County jail parking garage. Late Wednesday evening, Monet was transferred to an indoor cell with five other women. “
—Los Angeles Times
We call on Allen Koppy, Morton County State’s Attorney, to drop these charges immediately.
The first amendment rights of journalists and free press liberties are in danger. Please join us in demanding that the Attorney General of North Dakota drop these charges immediately. ADD your name to the form below and we will include your name in this petition that will be sent to Allen Kopp, Morton County State’s Attorney.
You can also send your own letters to:
Morton County State’s Attorney
210 2nd Ave. NW
Mandan, ND 58554
To the State of North Dakota and Morton County State’s Attorney Allen Koppy:
I object to the charges against reporter Jenni Monet. Ms. Monet was covering the events at Standing Rock in her capacity as a journalist for several independent news outlets and was not criminally trespassing or rioting.
I request that you honor the First Amendment and the vital role that independent journalism plays in our democracy by dropping charges against reporter Jenni Monet.