Gustavo Martinez Contreras, a multi-media journalist for the Asbury Park Press, was arrested during a Monday night protest against police brutality on Monday evening.
Martinez tweeted at 3:52 AM that he was “just released from the Belmar PD headquarters with a summons for failing to obey an order to disperse.”
“What a shameful act by the police,” said Hollis R. Towns, the regional editor and vice president for news at Gannett, which owns the Asbury Park Press.
A video taken by Martinez shows a man getting thrown head-first onto the side of the street just before police officers came at Martinez.
“He was live-streaming the protests when it happened,” said Courtney Marabella, the newspaper’s engagement editor, in a social media post, “You can see him falling to the ground in the last few seconds of his video.”
The protest was one of hundreds that have followed the killing of George Floyd, an African American man, in Minneapolis, by a white police officer.
While handcuffed and lying face down during an arrest, Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’ neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
According to a WNBC-TV report, “a peaceful protest that turned ugly after a few refused to obey 8pm curfew and one threw something at police according to (the) mayor.”
The Asbury Park Press’ Mike Davis tweeted that a police officer told Martinez, “Fuck him. (Inaudible). You’re under arrest. Get your fucking hands behind your back.”
Dan Bryan, a senior advisor to Gov. Phil Murphy, said the governor’s office became aware of Martinez’s arrest last night “and immediately referred it to the proper authorities.”
“The role of the press is critical in a time like this,” Bryan said on Twitter.
Marabella said that “no one should be arrested for peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.”
“Journalists or protesters,” she tweeted.
The Asbury Park Press reported that “officers in riot gear began clearing the streets of downtown after warning protesters they were in violation of the 8 PM curfew.
“The video posted by Martínez Contreras showed officers beginning to arrest several other protesters who remained in the street,” the newspaper said.