As Queens took in the Fourth of July off to enjoy time with their friends and family at Jacob Riis Park, one man spent his night in a jail cell for public nudity.
According to the United States Park Police, photographer Krys Fox was arrested after refusing to put a towel over himself when asked by officers on July 4 at 6:30 p.m.
The park is commonly mistaken for a nude beach, but no one can be bottomless.
Police reported that they observed Fox standing naked for “a minute or two,” taking pictures of a friend.
Fox and his friends say otherwise, however. The photographer claims that as he was taking his friend’s picture to post on his Instagram profile, when his towel slipped off.
Fox told the Daily Dot that before he had a chance to put the towel back on, he was “tackled to the ground by a squad of police.”
A friend of his defended Fox on a Facebook post.
Facebook user Shelton Pritchard Lindsay posted, “He was in the gay section. No he did not have a gun, he was just briefly naked mistakenly in front of several gay men. Do you know Krys Fox? He’s one of the sweetest and kindest people I know. Let me repeat his naked body is seen as more dangerous than a gun.”
But there is a clear distinction between what the Park Police reported and what Fox claims happened.
When asked if Fox was lying about the towel slipping, a representative for the Park Police said, “Yes.”
“U.S. Park Police had an increased presence [at Jacob Riis Park beach] because it was a holiday,” a police spokesperson told QNS. “Officers approached the man and asked him to cover up. Riis is not a clothing-optional beach. They asked the gentleman to cover up and he refused multiple times. The arrest really stems from his refusal to comply. He was charged with disorderly conduct with failure to comply with a lawful order.”
Sgt. David Somma said that Fox was pointed out by a man being given a ticket for public urination.
“He said, ‘If I’m getting a ticket, so should [Fox].’ We told Fox to go to where the other man being ticketed was standing, and he refused. After a lot of yelling and screaming, we decided that he was going to be placed under arrest,” explained Somma.
He went on to say, “Everybody’s welcome at our beaches, but the only clothing-optional beach in our area is Gunnison Beach at Sandy Hook. We encourage everybody to comply when asked to comply.”
Whether he was arrested rightfully or not, Fox’s experience at the park is now tainted. He told the Huffington Post, “My biggest problem is that Riis is my safe space and I’ve been going there for almost a decade. I got married in 2011 almost exactly where I was arrested. I shoot there all summer long and was working on a photo project I was devoting to the Orlando victims.”