Upon learning an Asbury Park Press journalist, Gustavo Martinez Contreras, was arrested, taken into police custody and charged with a summons for failure to disperse while reporting on Monday night’s protests in Asbury Park, Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) released the following joint statement:
“Gustavo Martinez Contreras should never have been arrested while fulfilling his role as a journalist during Monday night’s protests in Asbury Park. I am glad the charges against Mr. Martinez Contreras have been dropped thanks to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, as a failure to disperse would not apply to reporters, who were exempt from last night’s curfew.
“His arrest reflects a troubling pattern nationwide of law enforcement officers targeting and arresting journalists, which is something we cannot – and will not – allow to continue here in New Jersey. Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy, and the arrest of a journalist for reporting the news is the very antithesis of the beliefs our country holds dear. We must maintain these freedoms now more than ever.”