Miami-Dade Police Watched Photog's Facebook Before Arresting Him at Occupy Miami Bust

Categories: Occupy Miami
via Photography Is Not A Crime
Miller's Facebook profile picture, which was sent to MDPD cops before the Occupy Miami eviction.
Carlos Miller isn't shy about his M.O. -- he believes photographers have the right to photograph police on the job, and he's more than willing to get arrested to prove his point. So it's not necessarily a surprise that cops are well aware of the 305's most rabble-rousing photog. Yet there's still something deeply unsettling about a batch of internal emails that Miller just posted from MDPD's Homeland Security team.

The emails show that in the lead-up to January's mass eviction of Occupy Miami protesters, MDPD anti-terrorism unit was actively monitoring Miller's personal Facebook page.

The emails, which Miller acquired via a Freedom of Information Act request, show that hours before his arrest on Jan. 31 MDPD's Homeland Security bureau sent out an alert titled "Multimedia information/ Situational Awareness" that included Miller's Facebook profile picture.

Here's what they had to say about the photographer to the other cops on the eve of their raid on Occupy Miami's encampment at Government Center:
Carlos Miller is a Miami multimedia journalist who has been arrested twice for taking pictures of law enforcement. He has publicly posted on social networks that he will be taking pictures today in order to document the eviction.
In other words, the Homeland Security team was checking out Miller's status updates with sufficient regularity to know that he'd be out photographing the raid.

Miller says he's got no problem with anyone checking out his Facebook -- it's set to be public, after all -- but it seems odd that an anti-terrorism task force would be watching out for a photographer.

"These guys are trying to keep our borders safe from terrorists with guns or bombs or chemicals and they're spending their time on my Facebook page?" Miller tells Riptide. "My thing is cameras. I take pictures, that's it."

An MDPD spokeswoman says the department is reviewing the emails that led up to Miller's arrest.

"We continue to await the outcome of the judicial process before making any statements regarding this incident," says Lt. Rosana Cordero-Stutz.

Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association, echoes Miller's concerns with the email.

"I find it very troubling that a unit formed to deal with terrorist activities found it necessary to send out an email advising other departments and law enforcement officers that a journalist would be covering a newsworthy matter of public concern," he writes in an email to Miller.

Miller is still facing a criminal charge for obstruction of justice. It's a bizarre charge considering that Miller recovered video he shot of the arrest that seems to confirm that other media at the scene who were doing exactly the same thing as him weren't arrested.

The photographer says the emails suggest that he was targeted for arrest by Maj. Nancy Perez -- the head of MDPD's public information office, who personally arrested Miller at the scene.

"What really blows my mind is that you have Maj. Nancy Perez, the head of the PIO office, who's spearheading this whole thing," Miller says. "You'd think she of all people would be familiar with the freedom of the press."



You can read all the emails Miller obtained from MDPD at his site, Photography is Not a Crime.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.
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16 comments
thidalgo_19
thidalgo_19

Carlos, this isn't the first time you got arrested. Right? So obviously the problem is you and not the people arresting you. Just saying.......

robinhoodtn1
robinhoodtn1

Police are going to do as they please like keeping an eye on my comments we know they do but we keep commenting and why do we do that because WE HAVE A RIGHT and the less rights we have gives the police more power over us.This guy had done nothing wrong but remember the police can arrest you if they don't like the way you comb your hair and I ask you IS that the way you want to live under the threat of arrest at anytime?

oink
oink

"It seems odd that an anti-terrorism task force would be watching out for a photographer."

That's because our modern rules of engagement allow law enforcement to label anyone who dares speak out against the clandestine power structures of this rapidly declining country as a "terrorist." Of course, they'll take this to the furthest possible degree, from dropping in on your phone calls and emails to smashing your cameras without apology. Everyone knows who the police are really working for, after all (hint: it's not for the public).

Guest
Guest

He hijacked the photographers rights issue and now it has become all about him, I have photographed many situations involving police officers and never had a problem. Just make sure you wear your badge, know your boundaries and don't get cocky, plain and simple.

Evan Rowe
Evan Rowe

Pussified?  Tyrannical is more like it.  I am not entirely sold that this is new.  I think this country, with an accurate and non whitewashed historical reading, has always been a fairly repressive society.  It sure as hell is abroad and sure as hell was internally throughout the and early 20th century.  Nothing compares to the variety of dictators and thugs we have installed around the globe from Egypt to Colombia to Saudi Arabia... sham elections abound.  In general we have zero sense of the history and mechanics of our own empire.  And that the core of our freedoms have virtually all been won through popular struggles and resisting capital, business, and the state that capital and business control.

allCanesBlog.com
allCanesBlog.com

Pathetic on so many levels. What a pussifed nation we've become.

WakeUpMiamiPD
WakeUpMiamiPD

Christ, wasting our tax dollars following Carlos' FB page.  Ridiculous.

Mmrockydog
Mmrockydog

I don't think the police would have a problem with anybody/everybody video taping them if it didn't always end up being a look how brutal those cops were, they didn't have to do that, thats an abuse of power, etc.  Does it occasionally happen, you bet it does, nobody is stupid enough to think that these situations happen in a vacuum and unfortunately on occassion somebody gets thumped a little harder than they should. Contrary to what you believe the system and the department eventually catch on and "take care of the problem".  I've never heard anybody ever say, "sorry officer I didn't mean to hit you that hard" or I wasn't trying to kill you I just wanted to wound you with that (fill in the blank)!!!!!  Generally they only hit as hard as they get hit or until you comply with the instructions.

The last time I looked at any police officer he or she put their pants on one leg at a time and breathed the same air you do.  Yes, they get paid to do the job, yes, they signed up for it, no it wasn't a surprise that they made as many friends as they did enemies by simply putting on that uniform, it was a given.  But they didn't sign up to have the ACLU and every liberal Knucklehead shove a camera up thier arse while they were trying not to get hurt and clear a crowd, and expect them to like it!!!!  Try to do the same thing to a judge, attorney, your doctor and see how far you get before they install your camera where the sun doesn't shine.

I would bet you dollars to doughnuts (cop talk) that if, as you were running up the street trying to film the cops screwing up, and you tripped fell and got hit by a bus your family would be at city hall the next day screaming that the cops should have stopped you or "protected" you from hurting your silly arsed self !!!.   City/County Manager, sign the check please.....................   

Carlos Miller
Carlos Miller

But I admit, I do get cocky because I know my rights and many cops don't. So does that mean I should be monitored by MDPD's Homeland Security Bureau?

GotCamera
GotCamera

 Last time I looked, wearing a 'badge' (press credentials) was not something required by the Constitution. If you know the boundaries, respect safety issues and don't act like SuperLatino, then what is the problem? Why are so many citizen journalists getting arrested CL?

nanook5
nanook5

ridiculous argument.

cops nationwide have zero accountability. this has gone on for DECADES. get in touch with reality.injusticeeverywhere.org

Guest
Guest

It is common sense, knowing how to deal with these type of situation comes with experience, if you think that having a camera on site makes you a journalist then you get what you deserved, like any other trade you must learn the ropes first and get out of my way while I'm trying to do my job.

Carlos Miller
Carlos Miller

When they made me the story back in 2007, I created a blog to document the ongoing abuses that photographers face on a daily basis.

Nobody else was doing that at that the time.

It needed to be done. It's not just about me, but about all photographers, professionals, amateurs and people who have idea how to take pictures but like to do it anyway.

Guest
Guest

Documentary photographer and writer I have been working in countries where there's no freedom of expression, places where photographers are not covered nor protected by any constitutional rights. The daily hardships of a photojournalist are part of the package, and you have to rise above these hardships in order to separate your work from the rest.The best photojournalists were those who made the best out of the worst situations, those photographers who stealthily captured the essence of a story on a everyday basis; rain or shine -and with no complaints.

I'm all for photographers rights, I don't have a problem with that, but I don't appreciate when someone uses photojournalism as a shield in order to promote their personal activism. 

We are on the field to convey a story, not be the story.I respectfully disagree with the way you're approaching this situation; I sense that all this comes from a place of anger and resentment towards authority, or maybe you're just looking for your fifteen minutes of fame, maybe I'm wrong -maybe I'm right (who knows).Nevertheless I wish you the best in your future endeavors, much success and stay safe. 

Carlos Miller
Carlos Miller

Whatever, dude. I've covered cops for many years for many newspapers. What have you done, SuperTroll?

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