The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press today protested to St. Paul officials over charges still pending against a freelance photographer who faces serious legal fallout for having been arrested on the job, despite a commitment by city authorities that charges would not be pursued against the dozens of journalists jailed or cited during the Republican National Convention.
In a letter to St. Paul’s mayor and city attorney, Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, questioned the still-pending charges against New York Post freelancer Jason Nicholas. He was swept up in a mass arrest on Sept. 1 along with several other journalists covering a protest, but obstruction charges against many other reporters have since been dropped.
Nicholas’s legal situation is unique because he was on parole in New York after a 1990 manslaughter conviction. His arrest in St. Paul got back to the authorities in New York, where he was taken into custody when he returned home after the convention. He remains jailed on Riker’s Island in New York.
In the letter, Dalglish told Mayor Chris Coleman and City Attorney John Choi that Nicholas shouldn’t return to prison for having done nothing more than gather news — “particularly when journalists on his left and his right were either released on the spot or had identical criminal charges dropped days later.”
“It seems reasonable to me that he should benefit from the same review and dismissal of the protest-related charges against him afforded” the others, Dalglish wrote.
The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.