A state judge today dismissed the remaining charges against a Santa Cruz photographer about to stand trial for his coverage of an “Occupy” demonstration in Santa Cruz last year.
Bradley Stuart Allen was charged in February with a felony conspiracy, a felony vandalism and two misdemeanor trespassing charges after he published his photographs of a November demonstration to the online media outlet Indybay.
“We can be supportive of a movement but that doesn’t mean we are aiding or abetting crimes,” Allen said.
Allen also said the judge held up a photograph taken by police of him on the roof and pointed out that fact that he was holding his camera, demonstrating he was acting as a photojournalist.
“It was clarified that we didn’t trespass and that we didn’t vandalize,” Allen said.
According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel the prosecutor said she does not plan to re-file charges.
“It’s really a shame that it has gone on this long,” Allen said. “I am more confident going forward as a photojournalist.”
Another freelance photojournalist and nine others were also charged in connection with the three-day occupation of a vacant bank building by a group "acting in solidarity with Occupy Santa Cruz," according to court documents. Allen said five people are still facing charges.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and National Press Photographers Association submitted a letter brief in support of Allen, urging the court to grant him leniency, because newsgathering is protected under the constitution.