Fashion photographer Andre Perry, 32, has shot campaigns for Reebok, Brooklyn Circus and Nordstrom, but fashion caused him some problems recently when his two-finger gold ring was mistaken for brass knuckles by undercover members of the NYPD. They arrested Perry and charged him with “two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, one for having the ring and the other for ‘intent to use it unlawfully against another,'” according to DNAinfo.
Perry was commuting through the Union Square train station when the undercover officers approached and informed him that his ring could be used as a weapon. Perry filmed the interaction with his phone (see above). One of the officers, Jonathan Correa, asked Perry if he was aware that he could hurt someone with the ring, Perry simply replied. “Yes, but I can also hurt someone with my hand, or just my fist.”
The official criminal complaint against Perry abbreviated that answer to simply, “When I asked the defendant [Perry] about the metal knuckles, he said in substance, ‘I know I could hurt someone with it.'” Now the photographer has gotten a lawyer to defend himself against what he characterizes as “being railroaded.”
According to DNAinfo this isn’t the first time Correa has been accused of stretching the definition of a weapon:
Correa and the NYPD were sued in federal court in October by Joseph Cracco, who was arrested by Correa one year earlier for allegedly carrying a gravity knife.
Cracco, a chef who said his folding knife was legal and he used it to open boxes, claims Correa unlawfully arrested him on criminal possession of a weapon charges in the subway at Grand Central on October 18, 2013.
Perry’s lawyer, Mark Bederow, says, “A case involving the legitimate possession of jewelry, which arguably looks like metal knuckles, screams out for the use of prosecutorial discretion and the dismissal of all criminal charges.” If the city decides to move forward with charges Bederow and Perry plan to sue.
Perry says of any potential lawsuit, “The end goal is for police officers to think twice before making an arrest,” Perry said. “Whether they’re white or black, I really want them to use discernment.”
(Photo: Katie Honan)