Na’im Nixon

Na’im Nixon, 28, of Atlantic City, gives a thumb's up to Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Sarah Beth Johnson after she listed the conditions of his release from Atlantic County jail. 

MAYS LANDING — Na’im Nixon smiled Thursday morning while giving a thumbs up after an Atlantic County Superior Court judge ordered him to be released from jail pending trial.

Na’im Nixon, 28, who was charged May 31 with riot, resisting arrest and violation of an emergency order after a peaceful protest against police brutality in the resort turned into vandalism and looting, was ordered released on pretrial monitoring after a detention held virtually before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Sarah Beth Johnson.

Scott Salmon, Nixon’s attorney, said the arrest was a “case of mistaken identity,” and his supporters have lobbied for his release.

He will have to report by telephone to court staff twice a month, is prohibited from possessing a firearm and must refrain from using alcohol and drugs, Johnson said during the just-under-10-minute hearing, among other conditions.

Nixon, of Atlantic City, smiled while Johnson listed the conditions, a surgical mask pulled under his chin while he sat in a video conferencing booth in the Atlantic County jail and replied “Yes, ma’am.”

When asked by Johnson if he understood the conditions of his release, he gave a big thumbs up.

During the hearing, Scott Salmon, Nixon’s attorney, told Johnson that Nixon only had one previous failure to appear in court in January 2019, and he “has nowhere else to go other than Atlantic City,” adding that he doesn’t believe Nixon is a flight risk.

Assistant Prosecutor Gina DeAnnuntis, who represents the state in the case, did not object to bimonthly reporting.

Salmon declined to comment after the hearing.

Officials allege Nixon ran through two lines of officers in the middle of the street as they attempted to disperse people during riots, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

When officers attempted to arrest him, he held his arms in front of him refusing to place them behind his back, according to the document.

However, Salmon has said that Nixon’s arrest was a “case of mistaken identity,” and his supporters have lobbied for his release.

Nixon was ordered held until trial after a detention hearing earlier this month in county Superior Court, but his lawyer said that

He successfully argued for Nixon’s release, citing a limited criminal record and his ties to the community, making him not a flight risk, and the appellate court turned over the order to detain him.

Nixon was one of 17 people arrested that day after a peaceful protest in the wake of the killing of George Floyd turned violent, and police said a group of rioters walked along Atlantic Avenue breaking windows, damaging property and stealing merchandise of local businesses.

Floyd died May 25 after he was arrested in Minneapolis and an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Protesters nationwide have called for an end to police brutality.

Nixon’s next scheduled hearing is a preindictment conference on July 30 before Judge Rodney Cunningham.

Contact: 609-272-7241 Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Contact: 609-272-7241

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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