The new Arizona immigration law has its share of critics, not the least of whom is Republican Congressman Connie Mack of Florida, who likened the law to “a time during World War II when the Gestapo in Germany stopped people on the street and asked for their papers without probable cause." Legendary sports reporter Art Spander wrote, “The law harkens back to Germany of the 1930s, the Soviet Union of the 1950s, very un-American, very frightening.”
That’s not the only thing reminiscent of those periods, however. Consider the beating-up and arrest of journalists covering political conventions. Democracy Now! host and journalist Amy Goodman and two producers have just filed a federal lawsuit in Minnesota alleging that law enforcement during the last Republican National Convention in St. Paul “culminated in the unlawful arrests and unreasonable use of force against three Democracy Now! journalists, Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, violating their First Amendment rights as members of the press to report on matters of public concern and the public actions of law enforcement.” The journalists are represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights “and co-counsel Bruce Nestor of De Leon & Nestor, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.”
Matt Snyders of City Pages wrote, “During the RNC, St. Paul transformed into a transient militarized zone. At behest of the party of 'small government,' law enforcement agencies spied on peaceful protest groups during the lead-up to the RNC, conducted multiple house raids once it rolled into town, and on the last night of the convention orchestrated a dragnet that swept up dozens of credentialed journalists, including (full disclosure) the author of this post."
As for the Democracy Now! group, “Nicole Salazar was cornered, assaulted and arrested by police, despite repeatedly identifying herself as a member of the press. Following her arrest, Sharif Abdel Kouddous -a Democracy Now! producer with whom Nicole was videotaping police activity that day- was similarly arrested and assaulted by law enforcement. When co-worker Amy Goodman heard of their arrests and came to the site to question officers about the incident and locate her colleagues she was also arrested.”
Check out the video.