Reporter Arrested While Covering Black Lives Matter Protest Files Lawsuit Against Law Enforcement for Constitutional Rights Violations

Reporter video in Asbury Park case.

Gustavo Martínez, a reporter with the Asbury Park Press, filed a lawsuit today alleging violations of his

Attorney Jois

constitutional rights after he was unlawfully attacked, arrested, and jailed while reporting on police misconduct at an Asbury Park Black Lives Matter protest on June 1.

“I’m filing this lawsuit because a press badge should not be a bullseye,” said Martinez. “On June 1, while I was live-streaming police misconduct in Asbury Park for the Asbury Park Press, police targeted me, yelled ‘F— him, he’s the problem!’ and then officers tackled me, slapped my phone out of my hand and took me to jail.” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal called Mr. Martinez the next morning to apologize and said all charges would be dropped.

On June 29, Martinez participated in a briefing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Mr. Martinez said, “I speak up today because the silencing of journalists by law enforcement is a fundamental threat to American democracy.”

Shireen Barday, a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, said that, “Journalists like Gustavo Martinez are preserving an extraordinary moment in American history by reporting on the Black Lives Matter protests. Duty bound, these brave reporters continue to deliver the news despite police attacks attempting to silence them. Gibson Dunn is proud to represent Mr. Martínez in this pursuit of justice.”

On July 8, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office released the findings of an investigation into the
incident. Of those findings, Barday said, “Last week’s shameful investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office confirms that the First Amendment rights of reporters are not alive and well in New Jersey.

The prosecutor concludes that none of the 14 law enforcement officers interviewed knew that Mr. Martinez was a reporter even though Mr. Martinez repeatedly said, ‘I’m a reporter’ at least five times, including in a video posted by the prosecutor on YouTube, where Mr. Martinez says to officers ‘I’m a reporter, bro,’ only to be told by law enforcement to ‘Shut your mouth.’ Not surprisingly, the prosecutor has refused to provide us with a copy of their investigative file or identify any of the officers involved.”

The City of Asbury Park, Monmouth County, the Borough of Belmar, Lieutenant Amir Bercovicz, and John Doe law enforcement officers are named as defendants in the lawsuit. Through his lawsuit, Mr. Martinez seeks, among other things, an injunction prohibiting the police from continuing to violate the constitutional rights of reporters and an order compelling reform in the police training curriculum.

Martinez is represented, pro bono, by Shireen Barday, Andrew Bernstein, Abiel Garcia, Cate Harding,
Kate Lee, Marjorie McLean, Steven Spriggs, and Connor Sullivan of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and
Goutam U. Jois of Siegel Teitelbaum & Evans, LLP.

Mr. Martinez’s video from the night of the arrest can be found below:

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  • Robert James Guerra

    What’s their excuse out there in the streets agitating people and saying they’re peaceful protesters did it ever dawn on them that this is the age of technology and if they truly want to be peaceful protestors they can do it online? but no they want to cause drama amongst the looters and rioters and risk getting hurt or hurting others yea real smart peaceful protesting tactic. common sense is dead to these people or they’re just playing dumb 🙄 we know the truth they’re just trying to put all those radical nuts in power. it’s not about racism at all, otherwise they would be agreeing with me. I asked all these questions to a lot of BLM supporters on twitter by wasting my time but many of them couldn’t answer back without sounding like a Marxist so its clearly a political stunt that fuels discrimination its really not about the police because they’re clearly better ways to protest if they want to reform the police but no the exciting drama and the twisted info from the media is what drives them to do it it’s not about reforming the system or the police it’s all about them the Left the radical Left that wants POTUS Trump out of office if it takes pulling down statues and destroying property and businesses and rioting if it antagonizes people to do that then more power to them they say; and even the media ignores it because they don’t want it to stop, same with the celebs and sports stars with their stupid misleading antics make me not want to watch movies with those in the kind like when I stopped watching wrestling as a kid because when I figured out it was fake. sports teams blackballing a game totally unfair to the other teams they were supposed to play against because and its really not saying anything but well when it comes down to it there mad Hillary didn’t win, there are smarter ways to protest peacefully and fairly but they’re not doing because they would rather put political correctness before anything else regardless, shows how organizations can be really pathetic and will they learn a lesson about all this probably not because they chose to play dumb about what’s really going on with all the rioting and destruction because they love it. otherwise, they wouldn’t be there in the streets and or blackballing from playing games or kneeling during the National Anthem, they know it agitates people to do destructive things and they wonder why people get shot.
    There are more non-racists then there are racists
    there’s always going to be racism you can’t stop it all of it.
    Why doesn’t BLM have a cop rally for reform if they want to reform?
    BLM protestors and the radical Left seem oxymoronic then they do rhetoric. so what’s really their message? vote democrat? Ever wonder where BLM Donations actually go? Even though The Internal Revenue Service stipulates that 501(c)(3) organizations are “absolutely prohibited” from making contributions to political campaigns… guess where it’s going to! That’s right, “ActBlue”….❄️😡 Black Lives Matter Global Foundation, Inc. fails to comment.”
    a little over a thousand people were killed by cops and only 24% of them were black Americans yet the fake war on racism continues
    black people were shot by a cop then white people, the problem with the black
    community is 70% of them were raised fatherless compared to the 30% of
    white people which would most likely cause the influence in lack of
    education do to the lack of stability from not having both parents in their lives.
    I can never apologize for being white and I won’t, and I am not racist I don’t have a problem with someone because of the color of their skin
    I was born after 1776 and if 1866 would have never happened I probably
    wouldn’t be here.
    Quoted by an intelligent black Author of Hate Crime Hoax: How the Left is Selling a Fake War; had this to say ” Black Lives Matter is an oxymoronic and disingenuous organization” ~Allen West
    if that doesn’t move you here’s another good read
    don’t believe distorted and bios commentaries from the Left why do you think some of the BLM youtube vids have comments turned off? free your mind and watch this trailer ~~~>
    defund the police means defund black officers and the new green deal means thousands of black men losing their jobs. I’m done here
    if you give a goose Adderall then all it will do is swim in circles, do your own research it and take it or leave it go find the real news it is what it is
    too bad everyone that #walkaway from the Dems couldn’t sue the libelous media they were so maliciously pushed to believe…
    also if your for BLM your for Aborting babies 9 month’s from a mother’s womb where she will be traumatized and mind trapped forever remembering that smell during and after the abortion “Abortion” how far is to far with the Liberal Mob?
    Black Lives Matter is a Marxist organization and the only time black lives matter is when a “White” cop kills a black man,
    and that is all, they don’t give a shit about black on black killing or black cops killing a black civilian.

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