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Photojournalist claims unjust arrest

TapeBy the time reporters and photographers show up at crime scenes, police have usually already roped off the area with yellow tape.

We stay behind the tape, angling to see as much of the scene as we can. We know it's illegal to cross over to the other side of the tape, so we don't do it. We talk to witnesses around the area. Eventually, a public information officer comes over and tells us what's going on.

But what happens when journalists show up before the scene has been roped off?

Photojournalist Carlos Miller may have found out the hard way last week. While reporting about Miami's Upper Eastside gentrification efforts for the online publication Category305, Miller began photographing some Miami police officers interviewing a subject on Biscayne Boulevard.

According to Miller's account of the story (read what Category 305 posted), five cops asked him to move on. He says he identified himself as a journalist and informed them he was allowed to photograph on public property.

They disagreed, saying Miller was standing in the middle of the street and disobeying their orders. He was arrested, charged with several misdemeanors and booked into jail, where he was released the next day pending trial.

Miller pleaded not guilty and says he will fight the charges. In an e-mail to me tonight, he wrote, "Sure it would have been easier to do as they say and continue walking. But for me, it's more important to stand up for my First Amendment rights. And this, as you know, affects all of us in the media."

Posted by Evan Benn at 08:16 PM on February 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

Teenager killed in wrong-way crash on I-95

MichelleshoreMichelle Shore had so much going for her.

She was a pre-law student at the University of Miami, attending the college on a full scholarship. She worked three jobs - selling purses and shoes at Cole Haan in Coral Gables, entertaining kids for a party planning company and babysitting.

But her life was cut short early Saturday, when a man driving the wrong-way on Interstate 95 slammed his car into Shore's car. Her car burst into flames and she died instantly. She was 18.

Shore's friends say she was always the responsible one.

Though she loved going out and partying, Shore never drank, her friends said.

"She may have only been 18, but she acted like a mother to all of her friends,'' said her best friend, Jennifer Justice.

When the accident happened, Shore was on her way from Coconut Grove, where she watched a movie with a friend, to her Sunrise home.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash, which happened in the nortbound lanes of I-95, near Pembroke Road. The driver of the other car - 26-year-old Ramon Herrera - is in the hospital in critical condition. Charges against him are pending.

Meanwhile, Shore's family is getting ready to bury her.

A visitation Shore will be from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday at Fred Hunter's, 2401 S. University Dr., in Davie. A memorial service will begin at 1 p.m. at the funeral home, followed by interment at Temple Beth El Memorial Gardens, 4900 Griffin Rd., in Davie.

Her family and friends created a MySpace.com page in her honor. Check it out at www.myspace.com/michelleshore.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 06:11 PM on February 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

A Florida story - part two

Remember our elderly driver who drove her Mercury Grand Marquis into a driver's license office? The 80 year old from Boca Raton isn't driving anymore.

Officials suspended Therese M. Smith's license the day after the crash, Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky said.

"In this case, since it had to be done right away, they just sent a trooper by to pick up the license," Wysocky said. "And gave her a notice of suspension."

Posted by Diana Moskovitz at 05:10 PM on February 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Shots fired, but where'd they go?

Bullets Odd case out of Miami Gardens tonight.

Police were called out to a report of shots fired near Northwest 213th Street and Ninth Court -- just south of the Miami-Dade/Broward county line.

Officers couldn't find anything at the scene when they arrived.

A few minutes later and a few miles away, at NW 199th Street and 27th Avenue, someone in a dark car stopped at a Florida Highway Patrol checkpoint and told troopers his passenger had been shot. Troopers called paramedics, who rushed the man to the hospital, but he died from his injuries.

Are the two incidents related? Police say they're not sure. Miami-Dade homicide detectives are trying to piece together the puzzle.   

Posted by Evan Benn at 09:03 PM on February 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

BSO saves abused pups

Option1 Broward Sheriff's Office deputies in Pompano Beach did more than bust an alleged drug dealer this week -- they rescued eight poorly-treated pooches.

It happened Tuesday in the 1500 block of Northwest Third Way. Deputies were executing a search warrant in the home of Enaildo Baptiste, an alleged drug dealer who has served time for battery and false imprisonment.

Inside the house: cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana. There were also two handguns.

No surprises there.

But deputies were stunned by the canines. All eight pit bulls appeared mistreated and malnourished. One was badly scarred from fighting. And three were puppies living in one tiny cage.

Baptiste, 24, now finds himself in the lockup, facing charges for drugs and animal cruelty.

The pups, however, are quite comfortable at the Coral Springs Animal Hospital. BSO hopes to put them up for adoption soon.

Posted by Kathleen McGrory at 08:50 AM on February 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Yellow Cab aka getaway car

Taxi_1 One Fort Lauderdale cabbie had no idea what he was getting into when he picked up Fredrick Holyfield Wednesday afternoon.

Holyfield, 39, asked the driver to take him to the racetrack. Nothing strange there.

But first, Holyfield needed to run into the bank to get some cash. Again, not unusual for someone on his way to gamble.

Around 2:30 p.m., Holyfield walked into the RBC Centura Bank near the intersection of Broward Boulevard and Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, while his Yellow Cab driver waited outside.

While inside the bank, Holyfield handed the teller a note, demanding cash - $50 and $100 bills.

The teller complied with his request. Then, Holyfield asked for a stack of $20 bills.

What a mistake.

As soon as he walked out the door, the stack of $20s, which was rigged with a dye pack, exploded. His pants, among other things, were covered with red dye.

To say he'd been caught red-handed would be an understatement.

Holyfield, acting like nothing was wrong, returned to the cab - aka his getaway car.

But things didn't work out how he wanted.

"The driver refused to take him anywhere," said Det. Kathy Collins, a Fort Lauderdale police spokeswoman.

So Holyfield bailed - but he forgot some of the stolen cash on the backseat of the cab. He returned soon after to retrieve the remainder of the mullah, but by then it was too late.

Police were already there.

They arrested Holyfield a block away from the bank. Turns out he is suspected of robbing other banks.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 10:19 PM on February 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

He can run, but he can't rob

Some Denny's patrons in Pompano Beach got more than the chicken-fried steak they ordered when a man burst into the restaurant with a shotgun Monday night.

The robber had to go to Plan B when he couldn't get the cash register open: Point the gun at diners and demand their wallets. The gunman got an 81-year-old man to hand over his billfold before the the robber darted out of the restaurant.

As Kat McGrory explained Tuesday on MiamiHerald.com, the guy couldn't figure out how to open a cash register, but he managed to elude police. The Broward Sheriff's Office dispatched search dogs, a helicopter and ground units to hunt for the robber, but deputies called off the search after an hour and a half.

Investigators still hope to find the gunman. Maybe they should start at sports bars: The robber was last seen wearing a Dolphins hat and jacket. 

Posted by Evan Benn at 09:36 PM on February 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ferreting out of jury duty

Ferret Common excuses to get out of jury duty: School, work, chronic illness, personal knowledge of the case.

Less common? My pet ferret needs me.

It was enough to get Prospective Juror #190 dismissed Tuesday from the trial of John Couey, the man accused of killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford two years ago. 

When Judge Richard Howard asked the potential juror, a nurse, if there was any reason she couldn't be a juror, she said: "Actually, yeah. I have a ferret and I live alone."

"You have a ferret?" the judge asked. "Is there anyone that can ferret-sit for you?"


With that, she was sent home. About 40 potential jurors will move on to a second round of questioning that begins Monday.

Snake In unrelated animal news, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's Anti-Venom unit was called out to Hialeah Tuesday night. A resident called 911 after spotting a 2-foot black snake in the yard. The snake was reportedly acting menacing toward the resident's cat. 

The call ended without incident, says Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Elkin Sierra. The snake slivered away before the venom unit arrived, and the cat was apparently shaken but unscathed. 

Posted by Evan Benn at 09:09 PM on February 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kids run over all too often

A 3-year-old Dania Beach girl died this morning when she was accidentally run over by her mother's car.

These types of tragedies happen all too often.

Just last night, a young boy was killed when he opened the door of his mother's Mercedes, fell onto the pavement and landing in the path of an oncoming car. That car dragged him for blocks to his death.

Here are a few other kids who have died after being accidentally hit:

In January, 7-year-old Amanda Wehn was accidentally run over in her neighbor's Pembroke Pines driveway.

In Northwest Miami-Dade in December, an 18-month-old boy was also killed when he was run over by his grandmother with her pickup truck.

A 7-year-old boy was run over by an SUV near his Miramar home in June by someone who was visiting a friend in the boy's apartment complex.

According to Kids and Cars, an organization aimed at making sure no children die in non-traffic, motor-vehicle related death, 12 children have been killed in 2007 by a car that has accidentally backed over them.

The organization recommends adults always look carefully behind their vehicles before getting in and again before putting the car in gear and backing up. When backing up, always do so slowly and pay attention to your mirrors, according to the organization's website.

Other tips from the website:

- Know where your kids are. Make children move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before moving the car and know that another adult is properly supervising children before moving your vehicle.

- Teach children that parked vehicles might move. Let them know that they can see the vehicle; but the driver might not be able to see them.

- Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.

- Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.

For more information, log onto www.kidsandcars.org.


Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 05:13 PM on February 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Time to switch peanut butters

Even your peanut butter isn't safe. A few people in South Florida think they got salmonella from the tainted spread (and, shameless plug, you can read all about it in the Miami Herald!).

Here is how one person, Christopher Blanco, 20, of Pembroke Pines, described his peanut butter experience:

Blanco got the peanut butter -- an 18 ounce jar of Honey Roasted cream -- late last month. He ate a little before bed and had some more for lunch at work. Within a few hours, he felt light headed. Blanco left work, slept until about 9 p.m. and woke up feeling like he could barely move.

Blanco started throwing up and shivering. His temperature hit 103 degrees. Blanco thinks he threw up about eight times.

He called his parents and they rushed him to a nearby clinic. Nurses gave him an IV and a prescription for antibiotics. Blanco's bill totaled $2,499.

One of the nurses told him he probably got sick from something he ate. Blanco guessed it was a cheeseburger from a few days ago.

Then Blanco's dad, John, saw a television news story about the peanut butter. He tried calling the company, but the telephone line was busy.

The Blancos still have the peanut butter jar and hope to get it tested. A little help with the clinic bill also would be nice.

Christopher Blanco added he has switched to buying Goober peanut butter and jelly.

Posted by Diana Moskovitz at 10:56 PM on February 15, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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