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Photographer Carlos Miller Roughed Up Yet Again By Metrorail Security Guards

Categories: Crime
via YouTube
Carlos Miller in a chokehold at the Metrorail station
Carlos Miller, the photographer and activist behind the "Photography is Not A Crime" blog, feels pretty damn strongly that there's nothing illegal about shooting photos or video on a taxpayer-funded Metrorail platform. He believes so strongly that he's already sued the County's security company over two previous incidents where they forced him to stop filming, took his camera, and roughed him up.

So you'd think 50 State Security might warn its officers not to tussle with Miller over his camera. But you'd be wrong. Yesterday, Miller was choked and dragged down an escalator by three guards -- all caught on camera by a friend -- again for the dubious "crime" of taking pictures.



"This was the last thing I wanted to do with a pending lawsuit, to go in and stir up more trouble," Miller tells Riptide this morning. "But I just don't have it in me to back down to these guys."

Miller's latest run-in with 50 State Security started last night after the photographer and a friend from Los Angeles had gone to Mike's Venetia for some pizza at the rooftop bar. The pair decided to take Metrorail back to Miller's home rather than pay for a cab.

As they waited for a train, they started snapping some pictures of the downtown Dade County courthouse.

"We'd been talking about the architecture, so we went to the end of the tracks where the view isn't obscured and took a few pictures," he says. "Then this voice comes on the loudspeaker saying, 'Stop taking those pictures.'"

Miller has already thoroughly explored the law behind shooting film at the Metrorail. In fact, he'd even gotten an email from the head of security for Miami-Dade transit stating that only commercial photography without a permit was forbidden. Any journalists, students, or amateur photogs can shoot away, the county code says.

But Miller had already run afoul of the county's security company on this issue several times before. When he tried to take a documentary film crew into a station to document his case against the company, a guard allegedly punched him and stole his camera.

Miller ended up filing a lawsuit last March over that incident.

So he knew what he was up against last night when another guard approached and demanded he stop filming. But Miller says he couldn't bring himself to walk away or put down the camera.

"I just have to educate these guys that there is nothing wrong with shooting film of the rails," he says.

The three guards on duty last night were in no mood for an educational session, though. After Miller repeatedly refused to stop filming and to leave the station, they ended up wrestling him down the escalator with one guard securing him in a choke hold.

"I was really surprised it went that far. It was scary," he says.

After police arrived, Miller and his friend were eventually released with $100 citations for disturbing the peace.

Riptide left a message at 50 State Security's executive office seeking comment on Miller's latest run-in, but we haven't heard back yet. We'll update this post if we do.

Miller says he posted the video for the same reason he runs his blog -- to push for more awareness that photography in public is not criminal behavior. He did note one bright spot: A Miami-Dade police officer made a point of instructing the guards not to delete his footage.

"But this incident just shows how much work is left to do," he says. "The bigger issue at large is you give people a little control and some people just go overboard."

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32 comments
JohnSteria
JohnSteria

50-State only pays its employees $10/hour, so middle aged thugs who work for them are basically losers. When you have losers as security guards, you are obviously asking for trouble as most 50-State employees are not intellectually equipped to handle rational/logic reasoning.

I don't see how anyone would expect anything better from the 50-State Security Guards, as they simply are not smart enough. That's the only career they are capable of. At least they are making some money and paying bills, because most would probably be in jail.

In conclusion, it's obvious they are idiots. You get what you pay for. I honestly don't see why people are surprised by this. Shit in, shit out, it's as simple as that!  

gpaugam7
gpaugam7

Public Transportation belongs to the public...Miami-Dade you need to fix this issue.  This is NOT a private business. 50State out of whack.

José Manuel
José Manuel

I like the idea of a photo day, let's get 200 people with cameras in there.

suzansmithe221122
suzansmithe221122

If you think Cindy`s story is super..., won weak-ago my moms boyfriend also made the small fortune of $5371 just sitting there eleven hours a week from home and there classmate's mother-in-law`s neighbour done this for 7-months and brought home more than $5371 part time at there computer. the guidelines at this website,,Great60.comCHECK IT OUT

Curtis Johnson
Curtis Johnson

Shaking my head at the arrogance and ignorance of this security firm. I'm not a lawyer, "though I play one on TV",......this is a settle out of court for $100,000 MINIMUM pay day. EASY Money! EASY!

Kyle Nolfo
Kyle Nolfo

I can't wait to bring my camera to the metrorail station

Ked Killjoy
Ked Killjoy

It is not illegal to take photos or film on the metrorail. First of all there is no sign that says you can not do these things. Second of all, when people come to Miami for the first time, they get to the Government Station, and at night the city lights up with colorful buildings. You can always tell that its their first time in Miami because they are taking pictures of the buildings. Are they going to stop them from taking pictures?

rmat51
rmat51

Everyone will be a winner if he succedes of beating them with a law suit. But there is always the draw backs of all law siuts. How long will the lawsiut be draged out? It will probably cost a bundle to organize and prepare for the law siut which Carlos is willing to spend but if he wins the law siut it certainly would have many pay backs for what he had to go thru.

vikingwarbrides
vikingwarbrides

I wonder what those buffoons reactions would be if tourists were taking pictures.  50 States needs to get fired pronto!


Wenceslao Fernandez Jr
Wenceslao Fernandez Jr

THIS IS A PUBLIC FACILITY...WHAT'S THE BEEF WITH PHOTOGRAPHING AT THE STATION?!?! UNLESS THEY'RE TRYING TO HIDE SOMETHING :-|

Michael Landsberg
Michael Landsberg

They have to protect the amazing 1984 tech we offer for public transport here. Duh

Kyle Nasrallah
Kyle Nasrallah

I say we organize a metrorail photo day. Every take all the photos u want on the same day. This is a free country

cljahn
cljahn

Why hasn't MetroRail fired 50 State Security yet?  These clueless bozos make the same mistake again and again and again and again. It should have been obvious the second or third time that the company is either incapable, unwilling, or unable to train its personnel to only enforce ACTUAL law.

Miami-Dade County should act quickly and decisively to get rid of 50 State Security immediately.  We deserve security guards who protect the law, not violate it every time there's a shift change.

Jyve
Jyve

Looks like the the city hired the cheapest thugs they possibly could in 50 State.  Do they not have training/are regulated on this type of thing?  Who's going to end up paying when Carlos Miller sues and wins, hope it's the idiots at 50 State and not Taxpayers (though I can see that there should be some responsibility on the city who hired these guys and allow this to happen).
Truly terrible, I hope they throw the book at them and training is changed to stop this ever happening again.

MiamiLala
MiamiLala

These security guards are absolute morons. I can also bet you that if I (a female) would have been doing the same thing, I would not have received any trouble at all. I have taken photos at the stations, including the tracks. No problems for me. 

Mauricio Mejia
Mauricio Mejia

This is what happens when you give ignorant pussies a badge.

Ralph Wong
Ralph Wong

Ignorance overflows in the city, I hope Carlos sues the crap out of all the people involve in this unnecessary arrest.

Courtney KickPush Mitchell
Courtney KickPush Mitchell

No! I was attacked by a rent a cop in the parking garage attached by the library. It was not a good look for them. They blocked my car in, tried to take my phone, she took her ID off at one point, and I was about to swing on that lady!

Smartersean
Smartersean

maybe we should get a few hundred people with cameras and have a MASSIVE PHOTO SHOOT!!!

Glen Wren
Glen Wren

Sue these fucking idiots. They don't care about what's legal or right but they do care about money.

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