UNION SQUARE — The Brooklyn photographer arrested for wearing a two-finger ring will not face weapons possession charges after prosecutors decided to drop the case.
Andre Perry, 32, from Bed-Stuy, was arrested on Nov. 19 after an NYPD officer in the Union Square subway station stopped him and accused him of having brass knuckles.
Perry was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and had to spend a night in jail, even though he told officers that the $30 Dallas & Dynasty ring, adorned with a brass bar, was jewelry, not a weapon.
The charges against Perry were dismissed last week, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
“After an investigation which included inspecting the knuckles that the [defendant] was wearing at the time of the arrest, speaking with the [arresting officer], interviewing the defendant, reviewing case law and based on the fact that the [defendant] has no criminal record in the State of New York, the People move to dismiss the case in the interest of justice,” an assistant district attorney said during Perry's Jan. 13 hearing.
Perry declined to comment but previously told DNAinfo New York that he would sue the city if the charges were not dismissed.
Perry was particularly angry that Jonathan Correa, the undercover officer who arrested him, used Perry's hypothetical statement that he knew he "could" hurt someone with the ring to add an extra count of weapons possession with intent to use.
Perry bought the ring at a Williamsburg flea market more than a year ago and wore it daily without a problem, including taking it through several airports, he said.
There is no clear legal definition that distinguishes brass knuckles from jewelry, according to Mark Bederow, a criminal defense attorney who Perry had planned to hire if the charges against him were not dropped.
“The Manhattan DA should be applauded for recognizing that the piece of jewelry is not a weapon and this is a common sense result,” Bederow said. “It’s an excellent use of prosecutorial discretion.”
Perry's court-assigned Legal Aid attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
A month after he was arrested, Perry told DNAinfo that he hoped his case would make police more aware of the distinction between weapons and jewelry.
"The end goal is for police officers to think twice before making an arrest," he said. "Whether they're white or black, I really want them to use discernment."