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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Charges against local reporter dropped after Grewal intervention

Gustavo Martinez Contreras arrested at Asbury Park protest last night

By Nikita Biryukov, June 02 2020 10:52 am

Charges against an Asbury Park Press reporter who was arrested while covering protests in the shore town were dropped after an intervention from state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

“Last night, an @AsburyParkPress reporter was arrested while covering protests,” Grewal said on Twitter. “I know that officers face enormous challenges while maintaining order during a chaotic situation. But I’ve discussed this matter with local authorities and they will be dismissing the charge today.”

Gustavo Martinez Contreras, a multi-media journalist for the Asbury Park Press, was arrested Monday night while covering a protest against police brutality Monday night. He was livestreaming the protest and caught police throwing a protestor on the side of the street before being tackled himself.

The reporter was charged with failing to obey an order to disperse.

While the protest remained peaceful for most of the day, authorities responded with force after some protestors did not observe an 8 p.m. curfew issued in the town. The curfew did not apply to reporters.

Police made 12 arrests there last night.

The protest in Asbury Park is one of many held around the country following the death of George Floyd, who died after now-former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck with his knee for close to nine minutes.

“We will also figure out why this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Grewal said. “Because in America, we don’t lock up reporters for doing their job.”

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