Jailed MetroFocus Reporter is Off the Hook

Credit: MetroFocus/Sam Lewis

Charges have been dropped against MetroFocus reporter John Farley.

As we previously reported, Farley and appproximately 70 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on September 24th.

Today, Farley, a staff reporter at WNET’s online news and culture magazine, and the others, appeared in New York City Criminal Court to face charges stemming from mass arrests.

The charges of disorderly conduct against him were dropped.

While conducting an interview with two women at the Occupy Wall Street protests, Farley was arrested and detained for nearly eight hours.

At the time of his arrest, Farley, who admitted not having proper NYPD press credentials, did have WNET identification. Police arrested and detained him.

He was held in a jail cell for eight hours.

In requesting the dismissal, Assistant District Attorney Michele Bayer read from a letter that WNET President Neal Shapiro sent to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. on Monday, requesting that the case be dismissed.

“As head of WNET, the former president of NBC News, and a lifelong news producer and television news executive, I am gravely concerned about the First Amendment implications of the New York City Police Department’s actions in this matter,” said Shapiro’s letter.

Farley’s was the first case heard by Judge Neil Ross today and the only one dismissed outright.  Farley was represented in court by Robert Feinberg, general counsel for WNET and a former federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York.

“We appreciate the Manhattan district attorney’s office for wisely exercising its discretion to request a dismissal,” Feinberg said.

Farley, 25, a former Web editor at Pop City, joined MetroFocus in May. The site officially launched in July.