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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."

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Scott

Wow. That's some story. I'm wondering though if the journalist who was assaulted manage to get physical evidence of his assault? You know, like pictures of the scrapes, bruises, any other injuries that might have occurred? If so, the case seems like he might have a chance. If not, it's his word against 5 police officers, which in that case, I would not risk it.

PlanB

The Miami Police Department's reputation for aggression is getting worse. Most people would be intimidated and back off, but we should all be proud of anyone who stands up for his/her rights.

Bottom line is that the police were way out of line on this because the photographer was not breaking the law. They had no right to order him to stop taking photos, and neither did they have the right to order him to move on. His photo shows that he was not in the road as they claimed, and as it turned out-- they abandoned the person they were questioning to pursue the photographer. That spikes any claims that the interrogation was somehow critical. Even if it was, he still has the right to take photos.

I'm proud of the photographer for taking a stand and hope his scrapes and bruises heal very well. But first -- have an independent photographer take the photos after getting examined by a doctor who can describe the injuries in detail.

Jose Narof

This article is about a known traitor who is from Democrat Underground, a treasonous site that has been investigated by the Secret Service and the FBI for threats against the national leaders. The Miami Herald has been notified that they are attempting to make false charges against the Miami Police.

Obviously the cops felt that they needed to control the small area around them while they were doing their investigation. They had no idea who this traitor really was and therefore could not determine if he was a threat to them or not. Better safe than sorry.

These same traitors will call a cop at the first sight of any political confrontation in the street too.

Daniel

I think that the photographer had a right to be there becasue it was public property. He should fight what he belives in and he should win in court to.

Elizabeth Ferrari

When the press is not safe, we are not safe. When our journalists are assaulted, we are assaulted.

The Miami police made a mistake and they need to own it and they need to apologize for violating the public trust they are sworn to defend.

Shakingfist

To Jose Narof: You are poor sick soul who has apparently forgotton what country you live in. I hope you are choosing not too reproduce, or spread in any way your pearls of wisdom beyond the small hell which you find yourself in.

Eric

And we are to believe that if he was off of the street, things might have been different? I'm sure the arresting officers could have conjured up numerous reasons for his detention.

Also, is jaywalking ground for arrest in Miami? Or just exercising first amendment rights?

madjo

And suddenly category305.com is down?

Webbster

Jose Narof - you are a looney !

Unfortunatly for Carlos he is screwed. If this goes before a judge we all know who's side he will take.

The police have too much power here.

Jinxy

Sounds like he got what he deserved.

scurrilous

Democraticunderground a treasonous site?

LOL

Give me some of what that guy is smoking.

Turbulous

I personally think the ones who are against this innocent photographer should get the shit beat out of them for being so0o god damn ignorant n ridiculously stupid and narrow minded. With that being said the photographer had every right in his amendments and rights to be where he was and take any photos he would like. I dont see why cops have all the power in this country, Yes they protect us. But no, they cant arrest us for nonscence. I give this guy my pride for standing up for what he beilved in and his rights. Alot of people now a day are too scared of consequence and actions these so called "police officers" have on citizens.

grantcart

Democratic Underground is as subversive as a library is.

jammer

I am retired from a police agency in So. CA., which is considerably smaller than Miami P.D.. That said, I would like to state that I never objected to non law enforcement personnel photographing my activities, be they official or otherwise. The only reason I can surmise for the actions of the M.P.D. uniformed officers is: that they must have been doing something contrary to department regs., or ethical conduct. If you expect citizens to assist you in providing assistance in criminal investigations, you cannot conduct yourself as if you are The K.G.B.. I sincerely hope that Internal Affairs, Training, and The Chief of Police, scrutinize this incident, and make this type of behavior a major item at an upcoming briefing, and an occasional reminder thereafter. Citizen involvement, be it observing, or photographing police activity, keeps it from becoming a semi secretive profession, and garners more public support.

HAL

JAMMER:
thank you so much for writing that, It makes me , for one anyway, feel much better and I think this is a problem that we as a public can and will have to solve, for if we become a police state like some think we are in now, we will have lost more then most will ever know! I am going to visit and have a talk to the DIVISION CHIEF after I deal with the false arrest jammer, i was arrested for having a concealed handcuff key which were on my carkey rings, even though it wasnt concealed, the person that put me into handcuffs, fondles my carkeys for a few mins, then made out like he didn't see the handcuff keys and then stuffed them back into my pocket, "i even told him that i had handcuff keys,-I even had a pair of handcuffs! hope you was sitting down for that one, in which you may very well have fell down after hearing that, no joke. that exactly what happened. I could go on but for now i wont, but to say thank you again for your comment, it really hit home for me.

HAL [lic. security officer in FLA.]

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