The NYPD and the LGBT community are at odds once again following the seemingly needless arrest of a man at Jacob Riis Beach in Queens July 4.
Photographer Krys Fox claims he was taking pictures at Jacob Riis Park, which includes a historically gay-friendly section of beach. Because his shorts had gotten sandy and he was drying them in the sun, Fox wore a towel wrapped around his waist. When the towel accidentally came undone, Fox was quickly tackled and surrounded by some overzealous cops. Fox was then dragged off the beach, naked, while screaming, “Help me!”
“I just didn’t wrap my towel around my waist tight enough and it suddenly slipped down and I literally got sent to jail for it,” Fox told The Daily Dot. “I’d always heard that it was a clothing-optional beach. I keep running it over and over in my head, and I can’t even begin to answer why they chose me. I wasn’t causing a scene, I was just shooting a photo of someone like I always do.”
The incident was captured by several eyewitnesses on social media:
Fox spent three hours in jail wearing a paper robe resembling a hospital gown. Five tickets later—including public nudity and disorderly conduct—Fox was released in nothing but the towel he was arrested in.
The NYPD has been criticized for its increased presence at the beach over the last few years—drawing comparisons to the raids performed on gay bars pre-Stonewall—and for its aggressive policing of a beach that has traditionally drawn many LGBT people of color.