In the wake of a major controversy, one photographer is now calling for the release of the photo he took at the 2015 Hilton Head International Photographic Convention.
Sam Jones, whose work has appeared in Vanity Fair and other publications, was at the convention with his wife and two children when he took the photo.
The photo has become a rallying cry for critics and politicians, with the hashtag #FreeSamJones trending on Twitter and drawing national attention.
But the photo Jones took at Hilton Head in 2015, which he claims was taken by his friend David Purdom, is not the same as the one Purdo has released.
“I don’t know the man in the photo,” Jones said in a phone interview.
“It was taken when we were in a cab, we were driving from a hotel to our home in Atlanta, Georgia, and he had his phone out and he said, ‘This is the picture of me and my family,'” Jones said.
“And I said, What do you mean?
And he said that the picture that was taken of him and his family that I took was taken from the Hilton.
And I said to him, What?
And then I said I just wanted to let you know that this is the same picture that I had taken.
And I told them that I was just trying to get a picture of him that he might not see on TV,” Jones added. “
But then the next day I got a call from the police, and they asked me, What was I doing in the cab with that photo?
And I told them that I was just trying to get a picture of him that he might not see on TV,” Jones added.
“They said, We don’t have a record of you being at the conference, so we don’t even know what you did.”
Jones and Purdoms family had been scheduled to attend the Hiltonhead event but canceled due to the controversy.
“So we decided to get in a limousine to go back to the hotel to meet him,” Jones explained.
And so I didn (have to) get in his car to take a picture,” Jones continued. “
That was his photo of us in the car.
And so I didn (have to) get in his car to take a picture,” Jones continued.
“He didn’t have to get permission, he just came in with a picture and it was taken, and that was the picture I took.”
According to Jones, the police told him that they could not provide him with a record that would identify him as the photographer.
“The police said, If you’re going to have a photo of you, you better have the ID.
And the police said I don’t give a damn if you have a picture, so they couldn’t help us,” Jones stated.
“There was no reason for them to ask us.
They were just going to tell us that he was in the hotel with his family and that they were going to give him a call to come get him.”
The police did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CBS News.
Purdoman’s official statement from the time of his arrest and booking into the Montgomery County Jail said, “Mr. Jones, a former University of Georgia student, was arrested at approximately 12:30 a.m. by Montgomery County Police Department officers after he failed to turn over a photograph of himself that he took during a photo op at the Hotel Hilton Head.”
Purdomer was later charged with felony grand theft and released from the Montgomery Correctional Center, which is not part of the Hilton facility, after posting bond.
The photograph Purdoom took at The Hilton Head conference has since gone viral.
In the post, he claimed that he only took the picture with his iPhone, not with a DSLR camera.
“My friend’s phone had an iPhone 5 camera attached to it,” Purdome wrote.
“In order to get the photo, he took off his jacket, put it in the box and left the room.”
“As he walked back to his room, his iPhone fell out of his pocket and he dropped it,” he continued.
In a second post on his Facebook page, Purdomed said he was “so sorry for my mistake and apologize to anyone who was hurt by it.”
“I would never want to tarnish my good name by doing something like this,” Puddom said.
Jones and his wife, who were not at the event, have since spoken to local police and filed a formal complaint against Purdomon.
“At the time, we didn’t know who Purdos son was,” Jones told CBS News, adding that he felt compelled to speak out against Puddoms actions.
“When he was arrested, he was told by the police that he couldn’t have any photos of himself taken without the proper ID,” Jones elaborated