Carlos Miller Arrested For Photographing Police Crack-Down on Occupy Miami UPDATED

Categories: News
Carlos Miller miami_dade_cop.jpg
courtesy of Carlos Miller
The Miami Dade cop who screamed for Miller's arrest
Local journalist Carlos Miller has a blog called Photography is Not a Crime. Apparently Miami-Dade police officers are not avid readers.

County cops arrested Miller on Tuesday night as he was filming the Fuzz forcibly evacuating Occupy Miami protesters from Government Center downtown. But he says the police are the ones who messed up.

"They took a routine bullshit arrest and turned it into a huge constitutional violation and a possible federal lawsuit because they deleted my footage," Miller says. "They messed with the wrong reporter."

UPDATE: We are embedding video of Miller's arrest, which he says he recovered this weekend. In another strange twist, the cop who had Miller arrested appears to be a public information officer.

Miller says that the police were actually doing an admirable job clearing Government Center without violence. But when he asked a policewoman if he could move past a phalanx of officers in order to get to his car, he says all Hell broke loose.

Carlos Miller Occupy Miami Evacuation.jpg
courtesy of Carlos Miller
The cop suddenly shouted for his arrest and Miller was booked on charges of obstruction of justice and resisting arrest without violence (he says cops forgot to include the statute number for obstruction, so he is now only battling the resisting arrest charge).

"When I was arrested, there were several other photographers and journalists in that area," he says. "So why was the independent journalist the only one arrested?"

But Miller says the cops really screwed up when they allegedly deleted his footage. Miami Dade Police declined to comment.

"If you're going to arrest me for doing nothing, fair enough, that's your stupidity," Miller says. "But to delete my images... that shows that they were afraid of my footage getting out. That's totally illegal."

He has some support. The National Press Photographers Association has chimed in on his behalf in a letter today to MDPD director James Loftus:
The reliance by your officer to question, detain, interfere with, arrest, seize and attempt to destroy the property of someone engaged in a lawful activity under color of law is reprehensible. At best - behavior that chills free speech is extremely unprofessional - at worst it is criminal. Law enforcement agencies are established to uphold and enforce existing laws not to act in a lawless manner. Photography may not be restricted in a public place by officers wishing to avoid the documentation of their actions.
See below for a full copy of the letter.

This isn't the first time that Miller has been arrested for his photography. He was cuffed in 2007 for taking photos of cops while they were interviewing someone on Biscayne Boulevard. He was sentenced to a year of probation, but the case was later dropped on appeal.

Carlos Miller.JPG
Miller's mugshot
​This time, however, he says the police made a bigger mistake by trying to destroy his property.

"I guarantee I'm not going to let this go," he says. "I have experience making huge issues out of my arrests and I'm going to make a huge issue out of [this one]."

Miller is considering a lawsuit. He faces up to a year in jail for the resisting arrest charge.

"But I don't see that happening," he says. "If it does happen, I'm still not going to stop fighting."

UPDATE: Here is video that Miller shot of his arrest. It appears to confirm his claims that (1) there were other media at the scene who were not arrested, and (2) that he didn't do much to provoke his arrest. In a strange twist, the officer who demands his arrest appears to be public information officer Major Nancy Perez.



MDP Letter 02-03-12

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64 comments
photographurmoment
photographurmoment

Photography is not a Crime so long as we don't shove our cameras in peoples faces, incite fights, and make scenes at high profile locations, like the Miami Dade Metrorail, a feasible place for an act of terroism that common sense dictates as asinine, if we are patriots, or evil, with full intent to commit harm regardless of the outcome.Carlos please don't believe all photographers are blind. Alot of us know what you are doing. The question is ...with what intent.

photographurmoment
photographurmoment

Carlos not only filmed the railroad tracks of the metrorail, a restricted area of the transit system, but he violated the rights of these transit officers, who are civilians doing a job that were video taped without their express, implied, or verbal consent. Carlos mentioned Laws? Try these for a start: Loft v. Fuller, 408 So.2d 619 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1981). Florida's statute, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 540.08;Fla. Stat. Ann. § 540.08(1). Florida's statute protects against unauthorized commercial uses of an individual's name or likeness. Specifically, the statute provides that, "No person shall publish, print, display or otherwise publicly use for purposes of trade or for any commercial or advertising purpose the name, portrait, photograph, or other likeness of any natural person without ... express written or oral consent." Once Carlos Miller placed his edited recording on You Tube, he placed it in Commercial use in the guise of his supposed cause, "Photography is not a Crime", which does not fit the incident he incited... at all.

desspec
desspec

@photographurmoment It's hard to imagine that you really believe this. It has been widely and conclusively established that police officers, in the process of executing public duties, maybe be observed, photographed and filmed. To try and Use 540.08 to justify the arrest is even more bizarre. You're alleging that as soon as the video was posted - the same video police illegally attempted to destroy - he broke the law. So how does that retroactively validate his arrest? Indeed, there is only one charge he facing: peacefully resisting arrest. What does that mean? Being displeased with being arrested when not breaking the law? Those officers had no expectation of privacy in this situation, and really, not a single person is alleging otherwise anymore. Ya gotta give that one up.

photographurmoment
photographurmoment

At no time was an issue of taking video or pictures of a court house mentioned by Transit Security in this video clip.This story given by Carlos Miller is a lie. Carlos and his friend were drunk. Not in his recording, Carlos stood on top of the unauthorixed area wall at the end of the boarding platform, taking video shots of the railroad tracks and was told on the transit loudspeaker to stop filming and step away from the end of the platform. Carlos was endangering his life and the oncoming train that was a few minutes away. The clip that Carlos shows is after he gets down from the wall and intoxicated, he incites transit officers to a verbal altercation and physically striking them, he was restrained. What Carlos claims was a choke hold was actually a restraining shoulder and neck manuver to keep Carlos from injurying himself where the officer is seen laying under Carlos supporting him from from the metal escalator steps. It is clear that Carlos Miller wants to brake the Patriot Act law where he is taking video of train tracks inaccessable to the public for reasons that only appear suspicious and that he continues engaging transit security personnel that only result in bad publicity causing possible termination of these employees who have families that rely on them to bring food home in exchange of Carlos' personal fame in the media and the finished product for the interested parties that sent him.

desspec
desspec

@photographurmoment Of course. Clearly, if the cops arrested him, then there must be a reason for it, and unfortunately, none of that was actually captured on film. But where your theory really falls apart, is that he wasn't arrested on any of those grounds. If he had physically struck one of them - if he had even TRIED to - he would have been tackled and immediately arrested for assaulting an officer, obstruction charges, drunk and disorderly, ... they would have FLOODED him with charges.. But none of the things you are stating he is guilty of seemed to be factored in at all with the arrest. In fact, that female officer can be heard basically asserting that he was being arrested because he "failed to disperse." The things you are claiming, even if coincidentally they simply didn't get captured on any film, and weren't seen when the police went through them and seized for evidence, would have been brought up under the charges he was arrested under. No, what seems a much more likely theory is that these cops didn't know that he would make such a stink about being arrested for nothing, and be grateful just to be let go - like almost everyone is when a cop makes a bogus charge about why they could arrest them - and when it came out who he was, and it became a whole "thing", then suddenly all of these alternate theories were being bandied about, etc.. In other words, pretty much everything you said is highly doubtful, and could easily be considered a lie, couldn't they.

david
david

Here in Daytona Beach Florida the Police Department sends select officers to Israel(all expense paid) for training . Do they do that in your city too ? The Officer in the Video has the same crass nazi-like mannerisms of our local Gestapo .  Good job standing up against them . Your knowledge of the law and ability to communicate calmly the facts is highly commendable . I will use this video as training material here in Daytona for my own kids and other like minded citizens .

randrand run
randrand run

CARLOS-WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT POLICE ACTION WITH RIFLES THROWING PROTESTERS TO THE GROUND OUTSIDE CHASE BANK AT GOVERNMENT CENTER TODAY?! 3-13-2012-IS THAT ON STREAMING FILM RECORDED??

Ncw151
Ncw151

Good arrest. Don't be a dummy approaching a skirmish line after being given a dispersal order.

desspec
desspec

@Ncw151 Exactly what cops say about arrests. Exactly that term, actually. But ultimately, you never hear a cop call an arrest a bad one, do they. No. There essentially is no arrest that is a bad arrest, is there. It's all justified, no matter how it seems obviously a violation of rights.

Sewoodhull
Sewoodhull

GOOD ARREST?First they came for the communists,and I said "Good arrest" because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,and I said "Good arrest" because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,and I said "Good arrest" because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,and I said "Good arrest" because I was Protestant.

Then they came for me

and I yelled "You're violating MY rights."

CopsDeserve2Die
CopsDeserve2Die

 The real reason the mainstream media could stay while Carlos was arrested is because there is a lot of ball-washing going on behind the scenes and Carlos wasn't one of the ball-washers...

MiamiMan
MiamiMan

The overpaid and underworked have gotten the underpaid and overworked to quiet the underpaid or out of work. 

Von Lmo
Von Lmo

Arresting media folks has become standard operating procedure at OWS events. Don't expect any politician, Jeffersonian- Republican or  Obamacrat  to decry this violation of the Constitution however. Politicians approve it. 

been there done that
been there done that

as someone who has had numerous run ins with miami/beach police i always leave when asked.  it might be legal to take photos, but if a cop asks you to stop and you do not, that is failure to obey and you can be arrested.  believe me you when i say you do not want to get arrested for something this trivial.  it takes a long to get processed, you can spend several days in jail. you have to get a lawyer and go to court.  plus if you ever fill out an application that asks if you were ever arrested/convicted...  miami/beach cops will only let you photo/video if you have police issued credentials. you must belong to a legit media organization to get them.  i admire carlos for what he is doing, but i am not going to jail.

desspec
desspec

@been there done that A cop can ask you to stop taking photos, but a cop may not legally arrest you for taking photos. If a cop DOES do that, they are breaking the law. A cop is not vested with such universal authority that they can demand anyone do anything and be sheltered from consequences because they're a cop. The violation isn't "failure to obey.." it' "failure to obey a lawful order.." When an officer demands someone stop taking pictures or filming, it is not a lawful order. Finally, it doesn't matter if you have police issued credentials or not. Constitutional liberties do not require a person be specially accredited by a police force to be enjoyed. They are universal and it is a violation of them for police to intimidate or arrest people for exercising their rights. That's it! That trumps everything else. Cops are not above the law, and they cannot order you to do anything they may want 'cause they don't like it. As a judge said in one case "A police officer not liking the fact they're being recorded is not sufficient cause for arrest."

305mia
305mia

First of all it is in their RIGHTS to film on public property.  The police do NOT have a RIGHT to tell you otherwise.  I would rather let a JUDGE decide than a police officer.  As cops say "You may beat the case but you won't beat the ride".  Just because they can arrest you it doesn't make it legal or right.  It's because of people like you who think it is OK for police to infringe on our rights that this continues to happen.  This guy was obviously a journalist and posed absolutely NO THREAT.  Police just do not like to be filmed.  There are MANY videos out there where you see police going up to people and asking them to stop filming.  Why?  Do they have something to hide?  Are they not paid with our tax dollars?  Are they not public officials?  We need to let the police know that anybody can film them at any time and they better get used to it. 

scotus
scotus

a pretty hyped up Pembroke Pines police officer confiscated my camera filming a dramatic jaws of life rescue and helicopter airlift. A senior officer on scene eventually talked to him, after which he gave it back to me and also a phone camera he had taken from another woman. But I lost the opportunity to film the event and get it on tv news. The sense that a police officer has that he/she must extend control and enforce obedience is an ever-expanding one that must be curtailed by citizens. The problem is, there is the fear of persecution once your name is known as an "agitator." It's not impossible that this high-ranking officer knew of Carlos Miller, recognized him, and was happy for the opportunity to mess with him. As Mr. Miller's career is helped by this sort of thing, he is willing to endure the hassle. But for the average citizen, this is a problem.

nevernot
nevernot

The officer who ordered his arrest is the public relations officer for the MDPD. She was discussing the events of the evening with all of the journalists that evening and is sure to know Carlos's face since it's essentially her job to know it. He has fought numerous times for the rights of the photographer in public places, so if she did not know him she is seriously negligent in her duties.

Rena Lorenzo
Rena Lorenzo

That is a mug shot of a man who does not give a single fuck.

A concerned citizen
A concerned citizen

I think it is absolutely horrible the levels that police brutality have reached.  Just look at that mug shot and see what they did to that poor man's face!

Get well soon.

nanook5
nanook5

 lmao, that is how he looks normally.

occupytruth
occupytruth

whats is he standing up for?  there were 50 or so journalist that all knew where to take pictures from.  This idiot loves attention and I dont think is a coincidence that of all the REAL journalist there he ends up in cuffs.    

Carlos Miller
Carlos Miller

I just recovered the footage they deleted, so now it's a matter of converting it to the right format, then posting it on my blog.

It shows the cops had already broken down their military formations and were filing back to their original location.

It shows several journalists milling about. It also shows all the cops in riot gear completely ignoring me as they were the rest of the press.

The activists had already been dispersed, so the cops had already done their job. The operation was over.

I was walking down the sidewalk where several other journalists were either walking to and fro and this woman cop, I believe she is a major, stood in front of me and detained me.

I explained I was walking back to my car and she said, "it doesn't work that way," and began calling out to the other officers to arrest me.

I will have that video up this afternoon.

Marco Alessio Di Giovanni
Marco Alessio Di Giovanni

Good to know, Carlos! Seriously, do these cops think they're above constitutional law? Isn't it in our rights to film and take pictures of anything that occurs in public spaces?

P_Nis
P_Nis

Carlos being Carlos. He went looking for trouble and found it, I guess his site needs the traffic.

None
None

Dale Carlos!

Jim Pook
Jim Pook

I have been following Carlos's blog for a couple of years now. I have great respect for him as a news photographer and a rights activist.

I suspect the police involved in his arrest and the deletion of his footage are going to regret their actions once this gets to court. I predict that it will be very expensive for them.

Seems like the only amendment they didn't break was the 2nd.

Naughtyguy
Naughtyguy

Just get the record straight, he was arrested by the Miami-Dade Police Department not the Miami Police Department. They are two totally different Departments and their uniforms are not even the same color. My only question is, why is it always Mr. Miller who is arrested to the exclusion of the throngs of other reporters and photographers at the arrest location? Why is he singled out and all of the others who are getting the same shots left alone? Just a question. No judgement.

Unckle_Ruckus
Unckle_Ruckus

Read his blog. Police in the Miami area have the assumption that they can't be photographed or videotaped as they perform their duties as public officials. He beaten both cases the last time he was arrested, without a lawyer. Know your rights.

nanook5
nanook5

just about everyone arrested that night was booked for "annoying the police." another friend of mine got arrested for "loitering" because he was helping load fleeing Occupier's stuff into his truck.

MiamiPolice
MiamiPolice

He was told to leave and refused. 

hellothere
hellothere

Nobody likes a police state. Shame on you for supporting it.

RC
RC

No, he asked if he could return to his vehicle so he could leave, and THEN he was arrested, yet oddly enough the mainstream media was allowed to stay without being harassed by the MDPD (probably because they write so many fluff pieces kissing the department's ass). Just because an officer tells you to do something, doesn't mean you are automatically legally obligated to comply. Your statement is typical of the flawed authoritarian fascist attitude that many police officers seem to have, and suggests that just because you wear a shiny little badge, people should always do what you tell them to do regardless of how ludicrous it is.

Perhaps if police officers tried respecting a person's Constitutional rights once in a while, instead of constantly trampling on them, police officers around the country would receive a lot more respect. I would love to not have 5+ new videos of police acting like complete idiots sent to me every single day. I would love to see more videos of cops fulfilling their duties to protect and serve, instead of seeing them serve their own ego driven power trip. Remember, it is "Protect and Serve", NOT "Enforce and Maim then get caught in a lie about it and cost taxpayers millions".

Phil Ander
Phil Ander

Actually, Miami Police proceeded to block the street they said was a safe escape route after instructing people to leave that way. He did not refuse to leave, he was arrested in the process on abiding with the law.

Yep
Yep

I know who that woman cop is and she is going to pay dearly for her mistake.

Hayabusa
Hayabusa

Anyone that believes that the cops arrested Mr. Miller for no reason whatsoever are bigger idiots than Mr. Miller. I've seen this asshole in action. His sole purpose in life is to bait and antagonize the police or any authority figures until he gets a reaction. He's not a crusader, he's just a dick. He's someone that likes to wrap themselves in the Bill of Rights and Constitution to justify their own attention whoring personality. Look at his mugshot. He's happier than a pig in shit! He got exactly what he wanted: publicity!

Js
Js

Its people like you that cause our rights to diminish a little every day. A complacent little lamb who insists there is nothing to fear as long as you do what you're told. Insisting even as you are led through the corridors of the slaughterhouse to the inevitable conclusion of a life unquestioned.

KillThePigs
KillThePigs

Hayabusa, do you know where the expression "cop out" came from? From 99% percent of the bullshit arrests they make. Your reply suspiciously smells of that of a cop (pig). Die.

Hayabusa
Hayabusa

Nope, not a cop. Just a normal law abiding citizen. Your use of a figure like 99% just goes to show you're an idiot. You sound exactly like the usual band of idiots that follow Miller's exploits like he's some sort of super hero. "Kill ThePigs"? What the hell is wrong with YOU? Psycho...

Will
Will

Hayabusa is a japanese word for a black bird eater. Suzuki has a motorbike called hayabusa which used to be the fastest production motorbike in the world. Fastest than Honda's Black bird, hence the name. Nothing to do with abuse.

hellothere
hellothere

Kill the pigs. And kill those who support the pigs.

scotus
scotus

Hayabusa - doesn't that mean "there is abuse"? You write one way, but your name says the opposite: Yes, there is abuse. Abuse of police power.

Obligated
Obligated

I have to say, unless YOU were there THIS time, you don't know any damn better than the rest of us.  All we have is a "no comment"//or just ignored by cops when asked about the incident, and this guy who claims his pictures were deleted by the police, who had no right to do so, and their actions as such are nothing less than atrocious and criminal.

It will not be hard to figure out what happened and prove it in a court of law; the time these files were deleted will be discovered, as well as their contents, bringing light to whoever really deserves the shame and jail time (ideally; realistically, reprimand).

Hayabusa
Hayabusa

Yes, I'm sure you were there and witnessed the whole situation, right? That would be the ONLY way YOU are better informed than I.

Phil Ander
Phil Ander

And you sound either jealous or misinformed, Hayabusa.

It seems as though the only dick in these parts is you.

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