Drop the Charges Against Jahnny Lee
On February 22nd, as North Dakota law enforcement moved in to evict the residents of the Oceti Sakowin Camp, part of the Standing Rock resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, filmmaker and journalist Jahnny Lee, working with the Sundance Institute, was arrested while filming a standoff between police and water protectors. Mr. Lee was charged with “obstruction of a government function” and his camera and phone were confiscated.
The aggressive use of non-lethal weapons against unarmed, peacefully protesting water protectors and journalists has been well documented by the media at standing rock. Journalists and filmmakers were on hand for the eviction and report that they had been informed by police they would be allowed to film events from Highway 1806. These promises were apparently not kept as journalists and filmmakers were arrested exercising their rights guaranteed by the first amendment. North Dakota law enforcement cannot unilaterally rewrite the rules of American democracy and those guaranteed by the United States Constitution either through the attempted use of restrictive credentialing systems or aggressive arrest procedure. A free press is absolutely critical to maintaining a free society and we urge you to speak on behalf of Jahnny Lee.