Minnesota’s 9th Judicial District Court has dismissed the criminal trespassing charge brought against Alan Weisman after Alan was arrested, strip-searched, and held in solitary confinement on June 7. He was in northern Minnesota to cover the protests against Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 pipeline for a forthcoming book and for an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.
The gross misdemeanor charge was dismissed “without prejudice,” which means that it can be refiled if the authorities decide to pursue it. Meanwhile, Alan’s attorney is exploring the possibility of filing a civil suit in federal court for illegal arrest, suppression of his First Amendment press freedom rights, and other violations.
“I’m enraged by the deliberate denial of my press freedom by a sheriff who knew exactly who I was,” Alan said. “Protecting writers and journalists to bear witness to their doings is crucial to our species’ future, and I’m grateful that Author’s Guild, PEN America, CPJ [Committee to Protect Journalists], and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have proved stalwart.”
Alan was arrested by deputies of the Northern Lights Task Force, which is composed of sheriffs from 18 northern Minnesota counties and funded by Enbridge Inc. to protect its pipeline against protests.
For more information about the arrest and detention, read the CPJ’s detailed account of the incident.