Reporter Jenni Monet arrested at Standing Rock
Jenni Monet — a freelance journalist who has written for The Center for Investigative Reporting, Indian Country Today, and Yes! Magazine — was arrested while covering protests opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Monet had been continuously embedded at Standing Rock since December 2016. On February 1, she was detained and arrested after presenting law enforcement officers with her press credentials.
Writing in Indian Country Today, Monet reported that she was denied a phone call to her attorney until 25 hours after her arrest and was detained for more than 30 hours before finally being released. She also said that she and other Native American and non-white detainees were subjected to strip searches that their white counterparts were not.
Monet was charged with criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot, both Class B misdemeanors that could result in up to two months in jail, a fine, or both.
She is scheduled to go to trial in June 2018.
For her coverage of the Standing Rock protests, she has received Columbia University’s 2017 Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award and the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation’s 2017 First Amendment Award.
Prosecutors filed a motion to drop one of the two misdemeanor charges against Monet, the Bismarck Tribune reports.
While prosecutors are withdrawing the “engaging in a riot” charge, they still plan to pursue a trespassing charge against Monet. The defense has asked the court to dismiss the trespassing charge as well, which the judge overseeing the case has not yet ruled on.
If the trespassing charge is not dismissed, Monet’s trial is scheduled to start on June 1, 2018.
Following a one-day trial, a North Dakota judge ruled that Monet is not guilty of criminal trespass.
“NOT GUILTY,” Monet wrote in a Facebook post celebrating the verdict. “Great day for journalism and a solid reminder of the sacrifices made by scores of water protectors defending Treaty rights.”
“It’s a great day for journalism and for North Dakota in recognizing the essential role that reporters play in shaping our democracy,” Monet told the Tribune after the trial. “Today the court upheld our constitutional right to press freedom which has never been more important than right now.”