U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Photojournalist charged with grand larceny following filing assault complaint against NYPD officer

Incident Details

Date of Incident
July 6, 2021
Location
New York, New York

Arrest/Criminal Charge

Status of Charges
Charges dropped
Arresting Authority
New York Police Department
Dropped Charges
Unnecessary use of force?
No
November 1, 2021 - Update

Charge of grand larceny against photojournalist dropped

Independent photojournalist Gabe Quinones told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker the charges of grand larceny against him were dropped on Nov. 1, 2021.

The New York Police Department alleged that Quinones attempted to steal an NYPD officer’s baton on June 5. On that evening, Quinones was covering demonstrations in Washington Square Park, which had been the site of both protests and street parties in the weeks preceding. Gothamist reported that for several months the NYPD had attempted to enforce the park’s largely ignored midnight curfew, and had announced a 10 p.m. curfew at the end of May.

On July 6, Quinones said officers arrived at his apartment and arrested him on charges of grand larceny, alleging that he had attempted to steal the officer’s baton during the incident the night before. Quinones denied the allegations unequivocally.

Quinones told the Tracker the charge was dropped during a hearing on Nov. 1, and he intends to file a lawsuit against the department.

July 6, 2021

Independent photojournalist Gabe Quinones said he was arrested on charges of grand larceny by the New York City Police Department on July 6, 2021.

The department alleges that Quinones attempted to steal an NYPD officer’s baton on June 5, the photojournalist told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. On that evening, Quinones was covering demonstrations in Washington Square Park, which had been the site of both protests and street parties in the weeks preceding. Gothamist reported that for several months the NYPD had attempted to enforce the park’s largely ignored midnight curfew, and had announced a 10 p.m. curfew at the end of May.

Quinones told the Tracker that officers arrived well before the closure of the park and advanced on the crowds gathered there shortly before 10 p.m. As officers attempted to enforce the curfew and clear the park, Quinones said an officer ran up behind him as he walked down the sidewalk and shoved him into a wall with his baton. The Tracker has documented that incident here.

Quinones told the Tracker he filed a complaint against the officer and was contacted by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Office to provide his footage and answer questions about the incident.

On July 6, Quinones said officers arrived at his apartment and arrested him on charges of grand larceny, alleging that he had attempted to steal the officer’s baton during the June 5 incident. Quinones denied the allegations unequivocally.

“There’s no humanly possible way that I could have stolen anything,” Quinones said. “I got assaulted by that baton: I didn’t try to steal it. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when I walked in there.”

Quinones said he was taken to the NYPD’s 6th Precinct where he was held for three to four hours before being released with a hearing scheduled for July 26.

The NYPD didn’t respond to emailed requests for comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]