Pipeline protest charges dismissed against journalist
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Obstruction and disorderly conduct charges have been dismissed against a photojournalist covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protest last year.
Sara Lafleur-Vetter was working for The Guardian, a London-based news outlet, when she was arrested Oct. 22 with 140 other people at the pipeline easement near state Highway 1806.
Defense attorney Amanda Harris argued there was no evidence against Lafleur-Vetter and that photos show she had cameras and equipment and was working. Harris says Lafleur-Vetter identified herself as a journalist when she was arrested.
Surrogate Judge Thomas Merrick dismissed the misdemeanor charges against Lafleur-Vetter Wednesday following testimony from several law enforcement officers who said they did not distinguish journalists from others during arrests. The Bismarck Tribune says four other defendants on trial with Lafleur-Vetter return to court Thursday.