Freelance photographer Jason Nicholas made news earlier this month as one of the unlucky journalists arrested in St. Paul during the Republican National Convention. But while the city claims it’s backing off charges against the reporters, it looks like Nicholas’s latest legal saga is just getting underway, as he sits in jail in New York.
The New York Post freelancer spent two days in jail on unlawful assembly and obstruction charges after he was taken to the ground and handcuffed while covering a protest.
He said he had Democratic National Convention press credentials, and Secret Service officers called the Post to verify that he worked there. But Nicholas’s case was unique among the reporters jailed that week — he was arrested while on parole from a 1990 manslaughter conviction.
According to Todd Maisel, a New York Daily News staffer who was in touch with Nicholas, the photographer returned home to New York and was told to report to his parole officer. He was taken into custody and is now being held at the Manhattan House of Detention, waiting for a hearing in two weeks.
The problem isn’t just Nicholas’s arrest, Maisel said; one condition of his parole was that he couldn’t leave New York to begin with. Either infraction alone could have landed him in trouble, Maisel said. Taken together, along with the involvement of the Secret Service, the case has become "a big deal."
Elsewhere in the wake of the St. Paul convention, MinnPost.com reported today that a raft of local news outlets were "embedded" with the police while the protests and GOP events were going on. The reporters were promised they wouldn’t be arrested, even as others who weren’t embedded went to jail, David Brauer reports; in exchange for better access to the scene, the news groups agreed to embargo their stories on police tactics until after the convention.