'Victory' for British photographer after US protest charges dropped

British photographer Adam Gray from SWNS,

A British photographer arrested and charged for simply doing his job covering the American police brutality protests in New York is to have all indictments dropped.

Adam Gray, 33, a New York-based photojournalist for agency SWNS, was thrown to the ground by police, restrained and handcuffed as he chronicled the violent rallies in the city last week.

He spent 12 hours in custody amongst the protestors before being charged with unlawful assembly near Union Square.

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Gray’s arrest and treatment of other journalists as they went about their lawful business on the frontline of news gathering caused worldwide outrage.

The British Government, world media commentators, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, condemned the actions of the police department and demanded the charges be dropped.

In a “triumph for common sense”, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., has quashed the pending prosecutions against Gray and others caught up in the protest.

Gray, from Wakefield in Yorkshire, said: “It is a huge relief to know I will not be prosecuted. But it should never have been a prospect in the first place.

“To have a journalist arrested for doing his job is simply untenable. Although relieved, I will not rest until my record is expunged and fingerprints and mugshot removed from the police database.

“I would like to thank the Sun US, SWNS and all those who spoke out in my defence, for standing by me. It means a lot.”

People protest in Manhattan, New York,
People protest in Manhattan, New York, lighting fires and creating barricades, as protests have spread around the country since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. 30 May 2020. Picture: Adam Gray / SWNS

Authorities were forced to reconsider the actions of the police and subsequent charges after The Sun, which commissioned Gray to cover the rioting, instructed their lawyers.

SWNS editor-in-chief Andrew Young said: “This is not only a victory for common sense, but for the principle of press freedom and journalistic endeavour.

“Many journalists around the world put themselves in danger on the frontline of news gathering on a daily basis.

“To think they should ever have to be concerned about the actions of the police in a so-called free country as they go about their jobs is beyond contempt.

“SWNS would like to thank The Sun for backing Adam and calling the highest judiciary to account in bringing the matter to a swift resolution.”

The Sun, through its legal representatives, is now insisting Gray’s fingerprints and personal details are expunged from the criminal database.

Picture: Adam Gray / SWNS

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