Quantcast

Outrageous! Felony Charges Given to Journalist Filming Anti-Pipeline Protest

Many of you may have read my post on EcoWatch this morning, and already know that Deia Schlosberg, the producer of my new climate change documentary, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change, was arrested Tuesday in Walhalla, North Dakota, for filming a protest against a pipeline bringing Canadian tar sands oil into the U.S.

But, what you probably don't know is that she was escorted to the courthouse this afternoon and was charged with Class A and C felony charges that carry 45 years maximum sentences combined. The charges include, two Class A felony charges and one Class C felony charge, and conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service.

I am outraged and need your help. Please watch my Facebook video below, read the letter I'm asking you to sign and then click here to sign it. Thank you!

Here's my Facebook live video from just one hour ago:

Here's the letter I'm spreading around in hopes to get more people to sign on:

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I regret to inform you that documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg, producer of How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change was arrested while filming a protest action in North Dakota. She was held for 48 hours in Pembina County Jail without access to her attorney.

This should send a chill down the spine of every documentary filmmaker and journalist. In my view, the North Dakota police are in violation of the First Amendment, charging a documentary filmmaker with conspiracy rather than viewing her as a reporter/journalist exercising her First Amendment right is unfair, unjust and illegal. We need a show of support right now for Deia's immense courage and for the First Amendment.‎

Now here is the really bad news and this is why we need you to act right now. This afternoon she was escorted to the courthouse where she was charged with Class A and C felony charges that carry 45 years maximum sentences combined. She has been charged with: two Class A felony charges and one Class C felony charge, and conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service.

These charges are a threat to our freedom of expression on the most basic level and especially to documentary filmmaking. If we cannot film events as they're happening, especially protest events or events that the establishment and the police might consider crime, we will never work or live in the same way again.

How many times have you been in a situation where people were being arrested and your camera was the only witness to the event that could truly portray what was happening?

Imagine now that simply by filming the actions of others you could face felony charges with maximum sentences of 45 years. That's why we have a First Amendment. The Constitution protects the freedom of the press and our right to document events.

We need an outcry from all documentary filmmakers, journalists and artists immediately.

I'm asking you to sign onto a very simple letter that states this:

Dear members of the media, governor of North Dakota Jack Dalrymple, U.S. Attorney General Chris Myers and President Obama:

Deia Schlosberg was exercising her First Amendment right as a journalist. The state of North Dakota's criminal complaint filed against her on Oct. 13 should be dropped immediately. Journalism, especially documentary filmmaking, is not a crime, it's a responsibility. The freedom of the press is a fundamental right in our free society. The charges filed against her are an injustice that must be dropped immediately.

Here's who has signed on to the letter so far:

  • Josh Fox, Oscar Nominated director, documentarian and filmmaker
  • Daryl Hannah, actress/activist
  • Neil Young, musician
  • Frances Fisher, Activist, Treasurer - EMA, Actress
  • LEE CAMP, Host, Redacted Tonight
  • Christopher Ryan, writer
  • Bill McKibben, Writer, Co-Founder 350.org
  • Mark Ruffalo, Actor, Director, Activist
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • David Braun, Director, Writer, Producer
  • Alex Ebert (AKA Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) golden globe winner
  • Steven Tabakin, Peabody Award-winning film producer
  • Chloe Maxmin, Founder First Here, Then Everywhere
  • Alexis Krauss, musician
  • Jon Bowermaster, author, filmmaker, journalist
  • Alexander Zaitchik, author/journalist
  • Francesca Fiorentini, Journalist
  • Paul Bassis, Producer
  • Tim DeChristopher, Founder of Climate Disobedience The Action Center for Education & Community Development, Inc.
  • Nathan Truesdell Documentary Filmmaker
  • Bethany Yarrow, singer/activist
  • Chris Paine, director "who killed the electric car"
  • Vallejo Gantner, curator, arts executive
  • Jane Kleeb, Our Revolution Board Member, Nebraska Democratic Party Chair-Elect
  • Tanya Rivero Warren, journalist
  • Maggie Surovell, Professor of voice and speech
  • Seven McDonald Award Winning Columnist (LA Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, Nylon)
  • Henry Lai, director of product design, Echo360
  • Councilman Robert Eklund, Town of New Lisbon NY
  • Julia Pacetti President of JMP Verdant Communications
  • Deborah Parker, Tulalip Tribal Citizen, Board Member, Our Revolution
  • Greg King, Editor, Filmmaker
  • Alex Tyson, Filmmaker
  • Alison Klayman, Sundance-winning, Emmy-nominated documentarian and filmmaker
  • Stefanie Spear, Founder/CEO EcoWatch
Sponsored
Teenager Alex Weber and friends collected nearly 40,000 golf balls hit into the ocean from a handful of California golf courses. Alex Weber / CC BY-ND

By Matthew Savoca

Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.

As a scientist researching marine plastic pollution, I thought I had seen a lot. Then, early in 2017, I heard from Alex Weber, a junior at Carmel High School in California.

Read More Show Less
Southwest Greenland had the most consistent ice loss from 2003 to 2012. Eqalugaarsuit, Ostgronland, Greenland on Aug. 1, 2018. Rob Oo / CC BY 2.0

Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.

"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Seismic tests are a precursor to offshore drilling for oil and gas. BSEE

Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.

The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.

Read More Show Less
Brazil, Pantanal, water lilies. Nat Photos / DigitalVision / Getty Images Plus

Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.

Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.

Read More Show Less
Demonstrators participate in a protest march over agricultural policy on Jan. 19 in Berlin, Germany. Carsten Koall / Getty Images Europe

By Andrea Germanos

Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.

Read More Show Less
MarioGuti / iStock / Getty Images

By Patrick Rogers

If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

Read More Show Less
An adult bush dog, part of a captive breeding program. Hudson Garcia

By Jason Bittel

Formidable predators stalk the forests between Panama and northern Argentina. They are sometimes heard but never seen. They are small but feisty and have even been documented trying to take down a tapir, which can top out at nearly 400 pounds. Chupacabras? No.

Read More Show Less
Great white shark. Elias Levy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By now you might have seen Ocean Ramsey's rare and jaw-dropping encounter with a great white shark in waters near Oahu, Hawaii.

Ramsey, a marine biologist, said on the TODAY Show that it was "absolutely breathtaking and heart-melting" to be approached by the massive marine mammal.

Read More Show Less