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Miami Beach 411 Reporter Arrested For Taking Photos Of Police

January 08, 2010 By Carlos Miller in Miami: Local News  | 98 Comments

image
Officer David Socarras, in dark blue, arrested me after I snapped this photo.

The way Miami Beach police officer David Socarras reacted to getting his photo taken, you would think he had been caught in the act of doing something illegal.

It was Memorial Day Weekend 2009. Hip hop weekend. That time of year when hordes of black men and women descend upon Miami Beach for a weekend of urban debauchery, which traditionally kicks off with hundreds of locals fleeing town and ends with police making hundreds of arrests.

My assignment was to determine whether this weekend was as chaotic as people make it out to be. Or as the media makes it out to be.

I ended up getting arrested. One of 548 arrests that weekend. I did nothing illegal.

My “crime” was photographing a pair of Miami Beach police officers leaning against a squad car. Or more precisely, asking one of the officers his name after he ordered me to delete the photo.

Socarras initially charged me with disorderly intoxication because he said I reeked of booze. I welcomed him to give me a breathalyzer, but he neglected to do so.

Under Florida law, a person is guilty of disorderly intoxication if he is endangering the safety of another person or causing a public disturbance while drunk.

I did neither. I snapped a photo without a flash from a respectable distance as you can see in the above photo. He stormed up to me and ordered me to delete the photo. I refused.

He then walked back to his group of officers and I walked up to him and asked for his name to include in my article. I was immediately handcuffed.

I was thrown in the back of a paddy wagon with a group of other young men who had no idea why they were arrested. One of them said he was standing outside a club when cops came by and ordered everybody to disperse.

One of the officers didn’t think he was walking fast enough, so he ended up in handcuffs and in the back of the paddy wagon.

Another man said he was walking away as instructed when he inadvertently stepped into the street. That got him arrested.

Another man, Michael Rosa who was visiting from Philadelphia, was arrested after he pulled up onto the sidewalk in his rental scooter.

His charges were reckless driving and resisting arrest without violence.

After spending the weekend in jail and paying more than three thousand dollars in court and legal fees, he ended up pleading guilty to reckless driving.

“I lost a lot of money on a misdemeanor case that would have just been handled as a traffic ticket here in Philadelphia,” he said.

“Before I got arrested, I was having a good time. Everybody was. There was no drama. No fights. Everybody was chilled but the cops were aggravating the situation. They were being more forceful than the situation required.”

Rosa says he will never come back to Miami again on Memorial Day Weekend.

“The police are too crazy down there.”

A case of deja vu for me

In my case, the State Attorney’s Office probably realized they did not have enough evidence to support a disorderly intoxication charge, so they switched the charge to resisting arrest without violence, which is a questionable charge in itself because there is no underlying charge to base it on.

Nevertheless, it is not uncommon in Florida to be charged or convicted on a single charge of resisting arrest without violence.

In fact, the last time I was arrested for photographing cops against their wishes, I ended up going to trial on several misdemeanors, only to be acquitted of everything except resisting arrest without violence.

However, I appealed that charge and had the conviction reversed after a panel of three circuit judges determined that Miami-Dade County Court Judge Jose L. Fernandez displayed bias in sentencing me.

On January 12, I am scheduled to face Fernandez again in the trial of my second arrest. I’m hoping he remains more objective this time around. Only time will tell.

Those of you who have read my blog are familiar with my story and my activism in promoting photographers rights. Not only is photographing cops in public legal, it is protected by the First Amendment.

The problem is, many cops don’t want to be inconvenienced by such technicalities. Especially on that weekend when the Miami Beach Police Department paid more than a million dollars in overtime to keep officers on the streets, including bringing in many officers from outside jurisdictions.

As you can see from my video, it was a festive yet a non-violent weekend. 

The Miami Beach Police Department was contacted for this article and asked to provide some statistics, but they were still in the process of gathering the information, so that will be part of a future article. Below is what Officer David Socarras wrote in his arrest report.

On the above date and time, officers were engaged in placing and safeguarding a prisoner and personal property when the def (me) began taking photographs of the area, officers and prisoner without consent, in close proximity of officers. I approached the def and def had a strong odor of alcohol emitting from his breath and def was told to move on. Def refused officer’s order and then came within a foot of this officer after this officer gave him several orders to not come near me while I was safeguarding prisoner property and a police issued bicycle which was stolen.

Def was using the flash which was diverting my attention towards him and the flash going off causing my visibility (illegible). Then after being told to leave for the final time, def approached this officer and attempted to flash the camera in the direction of my face, which would have caused my sight to be impaired.

All I have to say is that the photo shows I did not use a flash nor was he safeguarding any prisoner or bicycle. The man accused of stealing the bike was already in custody. And it must be stressed that one does not need to get “consent” before taking photos of police in public.

Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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98 Comments on

"Miami Beach 411 Reporter Arrested For Taking Photos Of Police"

Gus says:

“He then walked back to his group of officers and I walked up to him and asked for his name to include in my article. I was immediately handcuffed.”

Carlos, I am sorry you got arrested, but after reading you account of what transpired, I ask myself, what would have happened if you acted more professionally.

There is a way to ask someone their name, and a way not to ask.

I wonder what the outcome would have been if you had said something like this:

“Hi, officer, my name is Carlos Miller. I am writing an article for Miami Beach 411 about how the media sensationalize Memorial Weekend. Here is my card. I think the Miami Beach Police does a great job, and I just took a cool picture of you. Can I get your name to include in my story?”

Your assignment was to get the story, but I am concerned that at times you let your ego and past experiences get in the way.

Posted on 01/08/2010 at 10:47 AM

Carlos Miller says:

Professionalism is a two-way street, Gus.

When an officer chases after me, gets in my face and yells at me to “delete it” where he practically is spitting at me, then he shouldn’t be surprised if I do chase after him and say, “excuse me, can I have your name, please?”

Posted on 01/08/2010 at 11:04 AM

Gus says:

The way I see it, police officers have a difficult job. They’re not hotel concierges, who get paid to be nice. They have to keep order. They have to deal with the dregs of society. They deserve special respect, and I’ve learned when I give them special respect, they behave nice to me.

Who was it that said, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results?

It seems like you keep expecting police officers to conform to how you want them to behave.

But when Officer Socarras asked what you were up to, did you conform in a nice, professional way?

Or did you have a chip on your shoulder, roll your eyes, and say to yourself, here we go again?

Posted on 01/08/2010 at 11:28 AM

Carlos Miller says:

Gus,

The cop never asked me what I was up to. He instead ordered me to delete the photo. He didn’t even ask me nicely. He barked at me.

Cops may have a “difficult job” but that does not give them an excuse to give unlawful orders or to be unprofessional.  It also doesn’t give them a right to lie on an arrest report.

And it sure as hell doesn’t give them the right to delete my images, which they did (I was able to recover them with software).

He knew he had no right to order me to delete the photo because when I refused, he walked back to his group. But it was obvious he was just using his authority to try and intimidate me, something that happens with way too much frequency.

You can blame me all you want. A lot of people do. But those people have never been in my situation where I am just trying to do my job without getting threatened, intimidated or given unlawful orders.

What you probably know Gus is that there are numerous times when I do interact with officers in a professional manner because that is how they dealt with me.

Obviously, those don’t end up in arrests so they fall underneath the radar.

What you’re suggesting is that I kiss their ass by saying that I think Miami Beach PD “does a great job,” which is irrelevant to the situation anyway.

Posted on 01/08/2010 at 3:44 PM

Carlos Miller says:

I’ve always said that the best cops are those who are able to diffuse a situation rather than escalate it.

This was a simple photo of a cop in public. The reason I took the photo was to show my readers that Memorial Day Weekend is not as chaotic as people try to make it seem.

If you have two cops who are able to lean against their cars in a relaxed, yet watchful manner, it shows that they have things under control.

With all the tourists on South Beach, you would think these cops would not care who photographs them. After all, everybody has a camera.

It’s true that once he started yelling at me and chasing me down and ordering me to delete the image, I did roll my eyes, thinking “here we go again” because it gets tiresome after a while.

And when he got in my face and continued yelling at me to delete the image, all I said was “no”.

I didn’t raise my voice, I didn’t try to explain to him the law, I just asserted my rights as a civilian as simply and as plainly as possible in a manner which I knew he would understand.

And it’s true that when he walked back to his group, I could have left it at that and just continued on my way and not be arrested.

But why should I be afraid to ask a cop for his name?

Posted on 01/08/2010 at 3:58 PM

Chris K. says:

No Gus, cops don’t deserve special respect, they deserve EXTRA scrutiny.

Posted on 01/08/2010 at 4:27 PM

Gus says:

“What you’re suggesting is that I kiss their ass by saying that I think Miami Beach PD “does a great job,” which is irrelevant to the situation anyway.

I don’t think it’s irrelevant. Reporters say nice things to people they’re interviewing all the time. Building trust is how a reporter gets the inside stuff that makes for a great story.

He had no right to arrest you, and you should have asked for his name, but it sounds like you didn’t try to diffuse the situation, either, which, I feel, was just as much your responsibility as it was his.

In any case, I still hope you want me to come to court. I have enormous respect for you as a reporter and a friend. I will proudly stand beside you and your First Amendment right to take pictures and ask questions 100%.

Posted on 01/08/2010 at 4:39 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Gus,

To me, the issue of photographers rights has gotten so big and is so important that I’ve gotten to the point where I simply stand my ground when my rights are being violated.

I’ve dealt with cops on a professional level for almost 15 years because I’ve mostly worked the cop beat as a newspaper reporter and I know that once a cop is yelling in your face, there is nothing you can do to diffuse the situation.

The best thing to do is ask for his name and move on. And that is exactly what I tried to do.

When a cop gives me the professional courtesy that I deserve, then I give it back to him or her.

There have been many cops down here who know about me from my blog and are surprised when they meet me because they expect me to come across as a total asshole and I don’t.

But they had the intelligence to deal with me in a professional manner.

And there are other cops like Socarras who had no idea who I was - not that it matters - and decided to abuse his authority.

We’re probably going to ask the judge to recuse himself so there might not be a trial on Tuesday.

Posted on 01/08/2010 at 7:48 PM

enhager says:

“it is not uncommon in Florida to be charged or convicted on a single charge of resisting arrest without violence.” I’d like some numbers to back this up.

Posted on 01/08/2010 at 9:01 PM

LivingWithHippies says:

Gus,

You are are a huge part of the problem.  Police apologist always like to trot out that “they have a tough job” line.  You know what, They get paid pretty darn good when you look at the average level of education they have.  Never seen a cop with an engineering degree, but seen a few that were paid like they had one.  Before you trot out the “it’s dangerous” tripe, realize that police officers don’t hit the top 10 jobs.

You see the real issue here is that police really don’t care about little things like the condition or bill of rights.  That’s wussy liberal talk after all.  I mean for God’s sake it’s not like this is suppose to be the land of the FREE and home of the brave. 

You know the worst thing you can do in the opinion of a cop?  Stand up for your rights!  Or point out that the pretext stop he just made is, well, a pretext stop.  When he tells you to quit filming his beating of a handcuffed prisoner, say no.

Blind obedience to a uniform is whet brings repressive governments to power. Look at Germany, Italy circa 1930.  Look at China today.  That’s where the ambivalence to the abuse of power by the police and government lead.  I find the systematic erosion of our rights disgusting.

The bottom line is this.  The cop had no right or authority to interfere with the photographers exercise of his 1st amendment right.  He had no right to attempt to delete (vandalize or destroy intellectual property) those pictures.  The cop had no right to falsify an arrest report.  Will the officer be held accountable for his transgressions, UNLIKELY!  You know, because “they have a tough job”.

The police should not be held to a lower standard than the average citizen.  They should be held to a higher standard.  After all, they are given great powers and are suppose to know what the laws are.

Posted on 01/08/2010 at 9:27 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Enhager,

This article should provide some insight.

Posted on 01/09/2010 at 1:15 AM

Carlos Miller says:

“Who was it that said, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results?”

Obviously a conformist.

“It seems like you keep expecting police officers to conform to how you want them to behave.”

Is it too much to expect them to abide by the law?

Posted on 01/09/2010 at 1:24 AM

Gus says:

LivingWithHippies,

“You see the real issue here is that police really don’t care about little things like the condition or bill of rights.

For me, the website owner, the real issue is that Carlos was representing Miami Beach 411. Rather than “conforming” to the situation, like a professional, Carlos turned a lighthearted assignment into a fight for the First Amendment.

Even after the police officer gave Carlos a pass and told him he didn’t have to delete the photo, Carlos decided to chase the officer and challenge him, in a manner that resulted in Carlos going to jail.

By the look of Carlos’ picture, the police officers had better things to do than arrest a local journalist. Seems like the guys would be tired, after arresting people all day. The last thing they’d want to do is arrest a local.

Rather than getting the interview (aka conforming and making friends), Carlos let his ego get in the way, just like he did on these assignments:

Cheap Electronics Stores: Buyer Beware
http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/index.php?/news/comments/cheap-computers/

Miami Drummers Celebrate at the Full Moon Party
http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/index.php?/news/comments/full-moon-party/

Unarmed Tourist Shot Dead By Police
http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/index.php?/news/comments/unarmed-tourist/

Miami Beach 411 is not the place to fight with police and defend the Constitution, it’s where you come to make friends and get the inside story.

For “getting the story” Carlos is one of the best. It’s the “making friends” part that’s the issue with me.

Gus Moore
Miami Beach 411

Posted on 01/09/2010 at 8:59 AM

Ken says:

It’s always best to “kill ‘em with kindness.”  Smile, speak politely, tell them it’s nothing personal, that you’re just observing your rights, etc.  If you go in looking for a fight, you’ll always get one, and as a defendant, you’re always at a disadvantage.  If you fight as a plaintiff, you have some advantage.

Posted on 01/09/2010 at 6:04 PM

Sungal says:

Hey Carlos,

From reading your articles it seems like you’re always getting into trouble. However, you mentioned some cops act in a professional manner when you deal with them. Let’s say you photograph cops on ten different occasions..out of those ten times how many of them go smoothly?

I never agree with provoking a police officer, however I am glad that photographers like you exist. We probably wouldn’t have learned about the Rodney King beating and police brutality towards minorities, had it not been for videographers and photograpers with the courage to document the horrible incidents.

Lets not even talk about the disturbing photos of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, but torture wouldn’t have been addressed without them.

On a lighter note, I got a great photo of the chef in Publix because I played a tourist and said my friends at home would never believe that a Florida grocery store had such an amazing Chinese food buffet. It was Gus’ idea and it worked!

For future stories, I’m looking forward to handing out a MB411 business card to prove I’ll use the photos in a professional manner.

Posted on 01/09/2010 at 7:52 PM

Nilet says:

Mr. Miller,

What you need to understand with people like Gus is that you will always be wrong. Always. You should have said please. If you did say please, you should have obtained permission. If you did obtain permission, you should have obtained written permission. If you got that, you should have bought a permit from the state, and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, there is a certain percentage of the population who believes that the police are always right, by definition. There is also a certain percentage of the population (overlapping with the first significantly, I would assume) who believe that accusation necessarily equals guilt. Changing their minds is impossible. The best you can do is ignore them, ban them from your personal blog, and push for increased police accountability so that their ignorant opinions become increasingly irrelevant.

As a photographer, I have encountered these people before. In at least my own experience, engaging such people is likely to change nothing but my blood pressure. Whether indoctrinated into a generally authoritarian mindset that naturally considers police to be deserving of absolute deference and unquestioning obedience or merely lying about their beliefs in order to provoke a response (that is, trolling), there is nothing to be gained by giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming they are reasonable people capable of understanding facts and logic.

Posted on 01/10/2010 at 12:08 AM

Hazy says:

Gus is a brainwashed drone. Don’t try to reason with a retard like him CM. I hope the case against you gets thrown out. Goodluck.

Posted on 01/10/2010 at 2:19 PM

rk says:

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

The quote is from Plato in The Republic, over 2000 years ago, and translated roughly, it means “Who will Guard the Guardians?”.

Gus, I have very great respect for you, and I even see your point of view in this case, but ultimately, the police must not only obey the law themselves, they must do so at all times, without exception, and regardless of whether they are dealing with a polite citizen such as yourself or sungal, or with the dregs of society. Anything less should never be tolerated.

Now I know we don’t live in a utopian society and the police are human, but one just has to watch a couple of episodes of Cops to know that the pendulum has swung far from where it needs to be.

I don’t blame the cops entirely. The fact is they will only do what they are allowed to. Our politicians have really dropped the ball in this matter, and it up to the citizens and the press to stand up.

The police have been granted extra power (to charge people with crimes), and as such I agree with whoever said above that they do not need special treatment, but extra scrutiny.

All the same, I hope this is one of those cases that is quietly dropped “for lack of evidence”. And yes, honey does work better than vinegar.

Posted on 01/10/2010 at 4:56 PM

Alex says:

What I don’t understand is that in situations involving law enforcement officers is why they’re not held to a higher standard in dealing with the general public. These are people who quite literally are trained in how to diffuse confrontations, but I seems many LEOs just want to exert their authority.

Them not understanding the law, that they should also be trained it, is just another of the problems.

Posted on 01/10/2010 at 10:26 PM

Jim Moore says:

My opinion is this isn’t about “the cops”..  Take your focus off them for just
one moment and focus on “the reporter”.  Carlos has a track record of starting trouble with “police” ok?  He antagonizes policemen when they’re on duty.  Pure and simple. 
Cops fail.  But Carlos has a track record.  That’s what Gus is pointing out here.  COOL IT CARLOS or you’re going to be like the boy who cries wolf.
THAT COP DIDN’T EXACTLY LOOK LIKE HE WAS BEATING UP ON MOTHER TERESA TO ME.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 6:18 AM

Gus says:

Thanks, Jim. I appreciate your comment.

Please let me point out, in addition to “the cops” and “the reporter” there is also “the company” and “the livelihood” of 18 other people.

There is a lot on the line.

I am disappointed.

I expect everyone at Miami Beach 411 to hold themselves to a higher standard in dealing with people - especially our customers, members, and the police.

But should “the reporter” have been arrested? No.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 7:46 AM

Dave says:

How is taking a picture of a police officer on duty antagonizing them? He is a public officer in a public place, and as such, he can be photographed by anyone.As an officer, he should know that.

Gus, if your article and website are so damn important, why did you send Carlos in the first place? (No offense to Carlos, whom I have the utmost respect for because he fights for his rights.) You obviously know Carlos and his blog if you hired him, at least you should. Gus, you have the right to hire whomever you wish, just as Carlos has a right to stand up for his rights. Don’t send him out on assignment to a function where you know there are a lot of police, and then get mad when he stands up for himself. Exactly what made you think he would act differently in this case?

(I’m not questioning what you did Carlos. In fact, I am impressed you continued to stand up for your rights even with the specter of you prior arrest hanging over your head. Please don’t stop doing what you do.)

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 8:55 AM

robert says:

Sounds like the reporter was trying to get a reaction. This would have been a non incident if he would have just left but instead he chose to go back back and confront the cops. I don’t understand the purpose of going back and asking his name unless he was just trying to instigate.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 10:27 AM

Hazy says:

Wow, I didn’t know that Gus is part of this website. It used to be that news reporters would go to great lengths to get their stories, now we have them apologizing for police actions and empathizing with them when they trample upon the 1st amendment. Maybe you should get another job Gus because you obviously don’t understand the spirit of journalistic rights.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 12:54 PM

Juicy J says:

I agree with Hazy.

It appears as if Gus is only trying to point out an easy finger at a simple target.

Even if you don’t appreciate Carlos Millers actions, try and grow a backbone Gus.

Just this past month you were the first to praise up and down about how good a video journalist Carlos Miller was for Miamibeach411.com.  Have you so easily forgot how he has helped you create those silly boat videos?

It’s coward of you Gus to try to kick the guy, and then just as I mentioned in aforementioned paragraph, you proceed to then praise him when you or Miamibeach411.com receives benefits.

That’s pretty cowardly & a two-face act.

………“I expect everyone at Miami Beach 411 to hold themselves to a higher standard in dealing with people - especially our customers, members, and the police”…


OK Gus, as a mission statement I agree with this, so then….

…how can you create a worthy mission statement about preserving the integrity of Miamibeach411.com, and then yourself GUS MOORE create “news” topics such as “Why I hate Miami”  written in 2006.

Is this holding yourself, and your company to a high company standing?  It sounds moore like a idiotic, chauvinist opinion.

http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/index.php/news/comments/10-things-i-hate-about-miami/

Besides, re-read the history, you & your company caught so much heat for this article that you closed down you the responses to your very own news thread.

“Higher standards”..”” Integrity”???
In fact one should not be the slightest surprised if Miamibeach411.com decides to ultimately close responses for this thread. “ If Gus doesn’t agree…Gus will close it down.”

And hey Jim, just because you claim Carlos Miller has a “track record” with police (That is your opinion) , this does not claim that he did anything wrong.
Hell Jim, by your own admission, IF your claim is true and that he has a reputation, then we as a forum community could all call you a drunken drug addict for your past transgressions.

No low blow meant, however you wrote it on the forums yourself : It’s only been since 1987-1988 since you lasted used.

Point being everyone, this is a decedent website: cut the man some slack.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 4:14 PM

Carlos Miller says:

For me, the website owner, the real issue is that Carlos was representing Miami Beach 411. Rather than “conforming” to the situation, like a professional, Carlos turned a lighthearted assignment into a fight for the First Amendment.”

But this wasn’t a light-hearted assignment. This was an assignment to determine whether police were being heavy-handed and whether locals were overreacting to the influx of thousands of black hip hop fans.

This was a story that was going to explore the possibilities of police abuse, racism and xenophobia.

On the forums, we boldly tell people not to come to Miami on Memorial Day Weekend because of this “dangerous” element.

And I took those comments to heart because I had been out there before taking pictures on Memorial Day Weekend, and I never had a problem.

What I found during my interviews, as you can see in the video, is that people were having a good time, yet there was a heavy police presence and a few people said their friends got arrested for ticketable offenses.

And we also see a white guy proclaiming there was “tension” in the air, yet was unable to describe it when further pressed.

As far as my incident with police, all I did was take a photo from a respectable distance. And I refused when I was ordered to delete the image.

Now should I have explained to him that I took the image as part of an article?

Perhaps, but he didn’t ask, and legally it has no bearing on the situation. I could have been Joe Tourist and still had as much right to take the photo as a journalist on assignment.

I’ve been a journalist for 15 years and I never had the attitude that I somehow deserve special privileges because of it.

I really don’t’ understand this attitude that by me asking the cop for his name, I was somehow “challenging” him.

That kind of attitude is basically saying that we expect our cops not to be professional. Not only that, we accept it.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 6:06 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Carlos has a track record of starting trouble with “police” ok?  He antagonizes policemen when they’re on duty.  Pure and simple.

I take their pictures, Jim. That’s antagonizing them?

I stand up for my rights when I am told I am not allowed to take their photos. That’s antagonizing them?

The truth is, they’re antagonizing me by threatening and intimidating me with unlawful orders.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 6:17 PM

Carlos Miller says:

I don’t understand how this story is an example of my “ego getting in the way.”

http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/index.php?/news/comments/unarmed-tourist/

This was the first article out of all the local media that dug into this case so deeply.

This was the first article in which the brother was interviewed.

This was the first article that included photos of the victim when he was alive because I personally got them sent to me from his brother in Virginia.

If this article came across as bias it’s because I am not afraid to question police tactics when it calls for it.

This is an incident that resulted in an unarmed tourist getting shot and killed by a cop who shot and killed another unarmed man four days later.

Do we or do we not have an obligation to report the truth?

Or maybe I should just put my ego aside and produce happy little stories that keep the cops happy.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 7:03 PM

robert says:

I think you got what you deserved and probably wanted them to arrest you. I hope another jury finds yoe guilty again.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 8:18 PM

Jim Moore says:

“You can buy em books, you can send em to school…but you can’t make em learn”.
Go head on Carlos. Obviously it’s working for you.  Go head on.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 8:24 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Robert,

I didn’t break the law this time or the first time, so you just want me to be convicted because I had the gall to ask a cop his name?

Are you a cop, by any chance?

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 8:30 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Jim,

The right to take photographs without being harassed, threatened or intimidated means a lot to me. And I’m surprised it doesn’t mean more for you.

So no, I haven’t learned my lesson that the cops want me to learn, which is to not dare take their photo in public.

I’m stubborn like that.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 8:33 PM

robert says:

Well a jury thinks you did and I don’t care that it got overturned on a technicality you were still found guilty. No I’m not a cop. Why did you have to ask him his name anyways, what were you trying to accomplish?

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 8:36 PM

Carlos Miller says:

The jury was persuaded by improper character evidence. Any jury can be convinced of anything if the judge gives the prosecutor the freedom to introduce whatever he thinks will work.

But believe it or not, judges also have to abide by the law, just like cops do, which is why a panel of three higher judges reversed my conviction.

So it’s a little deeper than a technicality. A technicality is watching a drug dealer walk because the cops did not have a warrant when they found cocaine in his home.

This was an “abuse of discretion”, if you want to get technical about it. And it means just what it says, that the judge abused his discretionary powers not only in allowing the evidence to be introduced but by basing his sentencing on my “lack of remorse.”

And why did I have to ask for his name?

Because he had just given me an unlawful order and I wanted to include that in my article, which was already going to address the heavy-handedness of police on the beach that weekend.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 8:49 PM

Jim Moore says:

(cause I detect just a little bit of ambition in all this for Carlito).
(Sort of the “Che Cuevera syndrome”).
(The peoples man).
Sure…I believe you Carlos you’re just “righting” all those “wrongs” for us citizens…Sure you are.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 8:52 PM

Carlos Miller says:

What are you suggesting, Jim? That I want to be some sort of dictator?

You got the wrong man, dude.

You’re beginning to sound like the judge when he accused me of trying to be a hero, criticized me for having a blog and reminded me of the “real heroes” in Arlington - as if that had anything to do with my arrest.

I have to admit I’m a little taken aback by the comments from you and Gus because I was arrested last May and for the last seven months, I was led to believe that the company was 100 percent on my side.

Frankly, if you guys felt so strongly about it, it should have been addressed outside of the public eye before this article was even published.

It wasn’t as if I revealed anything in this article that I had not told Gus before.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 9:07 PM

robert says:

Based on what I read I think you were trying to create the news instead of report the news and that is unprofessional. I have been there plenty of times foe memorial day and have never had a problem with the police but I have seen a lot of other people arrested and every one of them dederved it. Of course a paddy wagon full of idiots is going to say bad things about the police, consider the source.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 9:07 PM

Lizzy says:

Carlos, One day you and your little liberal pukes that you had to bring over to this site for support will have your camera shoved right up your ass and I will be laughing.  Hey Carlos , tax time is coming, make sure you report all those “donations” on your income tax, someone just might be auditing you this year.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 9:09 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Robert,

Right, of course, anybody who gets arrested is automatically guilty.

I still don’t understand how asking a cop his name is “creating the news”. This is called reporting.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 9:13 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Lizzy,

You’d be surprised how many conservatives support me. You’ll probably also be surprised how many liberals don’t. Go figure.

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 9:14 PM

Carlos Miller says:

” Let’s say you photograph cops on ten different occasions..out of those ten times how many of them go smoothly?”

It seems the problem lies when the cops don’t expect to be photographed, even though they are on duty and in uniform and in public when I have photographed them.

If I photograph cops while I am shooting a protest, say, then it’s usually not an issue. It is during these interactions that I’ve gotten to know cops on a more personal level because they see I’m doing a job, I see they’re doing a job and we end up respecting each other.

I’ve even written about these positive interactions with these cops on my blog.

http://carlosmiller.com/2009/09/21/hats-off-to-miami-pd/

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 10:36 PM

Jim Moore says:

You were intoxicated. (Unprofessional)
You got “mouthy” (Unprofessional).
You got arrested.
3 Strikes you’re out.
Tell it like it is one time son.
Quit being all “slick” you got caught
(again).
Camera doesn’t always give you a free
pass brother.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 3:26 AM

Carlos Miller says:

Jim,

I did not have enough beer in me to make me legally drunk.

Asking a cop for his name is being mouthy?

548 people got arrested that weekend. An internal affairs cop told me most of those cases would get thrown out, acknowledging that perhaps cops get a little heavy-handed during Memorial Day Weekend.

But obviously I struck out with Miami Beach 411, who has already convicted me. Thanks for the support.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 6:13 AM

Jim Moore says:

Alcohol and work don’t mix.

That seems to be a difficult one for
you to comprehend.

Alcohol+Camera+Cops=Jail

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 7:35 AM

Carlos Miller says:

After walking the streets several hours shooting video, I called it a night and had a few beers at the Deuce. I was also taking pictures inside the Deuce because I was planning on writing a feature on the ten oldest bars in Miami, one of them which happens to be the Deuce.

Yeah yeah, alcohol and work don’t mix but if you’re writing about a bar, it actually makes you more trustworthy to the people you interview if you are having a couple of beers with them. Especially if somebody offers to buy you a beer.

Then I was walking down Espanola to get something to eat before heading home. I was not legally drunk where I was unable to drive. I was on probation from my first arrest, so I was very careful about that.

I saw the cops leaning against the car and figured this would be a perfect closing shot. Stupid me, thinking of trying to make this article as thorough as possible. I should have known better.

I took the shot and the rest is history.

I did not have a single beer the night of my first arrest so I don’t know where you are getting off on telling me that this “seems to a difficult one for you to comprehend.”

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 7:46 AM

Jim Moore says:

Nevermind.

They’re wrong, you’re right.
But, you pay.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 7:54 AM

Gus says:

Juicy J,

I don’t know how many of your comments to take seriously, since you have a long track record of being “the instigator” at Miami Beach 411, but here goes…

“Even if you don’t appreciate Carlos Millers actions, try and grow a backbone Gus.

Just this past month you were the first to praise up and down about how good a video journalist Carlos Miller was for Miamibeach411.com.  Have you so easily forgot how he has helped you create those silly boat videos?

It’s coward of you Gus to try to kick the guy, and then just as I mentioned in aforementioned paragraph, you proceed to then praise him when you or Miamibeach411.com receives benefits.

That’s pretty cowardly & a two-face act.”

I am standing up for Miami Beach 411’s reputation. It would be cowardly and two-faced to keep my mouth shut.

Carlos was not reporting at his best, and it is wrong for any “publication” to give reporters a soapbox for personal vendettas.

“Higher standards”..”” Integrity”???
In fact one should not be the slightest surprised if Miamibeach411.com decides to ultimately close responses for this thread. “ If Gus doesn’t agree…Gus will close it down.”

OK, I’ll take the bate, Mr. Instigator.

In the 8 years Miami Beach 411 has been online, I have closed two threads. The first time was the article you mentioned, I closed the comments because it eventually became too much work to “police” trolls from dumping hate speech. The second time I closed a thread was because a former employee was unprofessional.

I hope my answers helped you better understand our company.

Gus Moore
Miami Beach 411

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 8:24 AM

Gus says:

Carlos,

This is how the “Club Deuce” story was related to me - you were partying hard and behaving belligerently with your camera, which I have seen you do before.

You admittedly have a problem with authority.

Drinking on assignment affected your performance.

You asked…

Do we or do we not have an obligation to report the truth?”

Absolutely. If corruption, or wrong doing is taking place, I want Miami Beach 411 to be the first to report it.

But you left your judgment at at the door, when you stopped at the Deuce for last call.

I am disappointed that you keep painting me and Miami Beach 411 as the bad guys.

It’s important that we talk and make sure we’re on the same path.

I am done talking about it here.

You can find me in the forum.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 9:38 AM

Juicy J says:

Dont take it person GUS Moore. In FACT just this morning, I booked a nine person everglades tour group, all for your company! The group get’s picked up this Wed @ 9:40am headed to the “glades”.

I even recommended you when the group was thinking of a competitor.

You are welcome Gus Moore smile

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 9:38 AM

robert says:

I’m sure those cases are thrown out with no objections from the arresting officers. They arrest some idiot who is causing problems and get him off the street for a few hours and problem solved. The fact that a charge is droped doesn’t mean the guy didn’t do anything wrong or shouldn’t have been arrested because by arresting him they accomplished what they wanted. The fact some are dropped just shows the cops don’t take it personal.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 11:44 AM

Carlos Miller says:

Miami Beach Police Officer David Socarras was “sick” so he could not attend today’s trial. No further explanation was given.

One of the cops did the same thing during my first trial.

Had that been me, a doctor’s note would have been required or else a warrant for my arrest would have been issued.

Meanwhile, Judge Jose L. Fernandez recused himself from my case. A new trial will be scheduled under a new judge. The saga continues.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 11:46 AM

Sungal says:

I hope you have a fair trial. I thought I brought up some excellent points about documenting police beatings through photos, but no one commented on my comments. I hate that. The bottom line is you should ask permission before taking someone’s photo to 1. tell them who you are and why you want to photograph them and 2. where the photo will be published. One thing that bothers me is people taking photos of homeless people while they’re asleep. They deserve the same respect as anyone else, and they should be asked. They’re a person, they’re not a landscape object.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 12:27 PM

Juicy J says:

Listen, the reason why people dont inquire permision for taking one other’s photo is simply for one’s self privacy.


It’s much easier to do something without asking,and then make up an escuse after the fact, then it is to be forthright about self-intrest actions, such as taking an unwanted photograph.

Say Carlos was random to you( Sorry CM)and came up to you Sungal and just started snapping pictures away, I highly doubt that you would put everything down and start twirling around teling him “Yay!”

And as for a possible reason to why no one replys to some of your commments; Sungal you have a tendency, and check the history, to turn topics that don’t directly pertain to you, you tend to try and make these topics about you.

Ie. Chef, Publix, Chinese food….

Carlos, I think alot of these people are just in the “un-aware”. No matter where they are from, there is just something “missing” to their arugment.

Say it or not,  it’s the truth.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 3:08 PM

SunnyD says:

Ummm, I was sharing with everyone how I got a good shot of the Publix chef by being charming versus snapping away without their permission. I also mentioned how it’s good that photographers catch police in action (Rodney King, other police brutality, Guantanamo Bay)so we know what injustices have occured. How is that about me?

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 4:14 PM

george says:

Here is an example why a lot of people don’t like photographers http://www.kpho.com/news/22059873/detail.html#

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 5:14 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Sungal,

There is a difference when you are taking photos inside a Publix of an employee than when you’re taking pics of cops in public for a story that is about cops.

Obviously, it’s better to ask permission of the Publix employee but it doesn’t make sense to ask permission of the cops because you really don’t want a photo of them posing for the camera, unless it a profile or something.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 5:28 PM

Carlos Miller says:

George,

That guy was a pedophile not a photographer.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 5:29 PM

george says:

He had a camera and was taking pictures which is not illegal.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 5:41 PM

Carlos Miller says:

He grabbed a girl and tried to pull her pants down which is illegal. What’s your point?

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 5:46 PM

george says:

My point is he was taking pictures of these girls with camera, that is what photographers do is they take pictures.

I’m not saying this guy is a photographer per se but this is an example of why people are a little standoffish about strangers taking their pictures because you don’t know what somebody’s intentions are.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 6:02 PM

Carlos Miller says:

I can understand people’s concerns when a stranger starts photographers a child on the street.

I usually refrain from doing it myself but sometimes I do if it is a photogenic moment.

I always smile at the parents and ask permission or sometimes I just take the photo and then approach the parents to show them the photo and offer to send it to them.

I do this not only because I don’t want to be suspected of being a pedophile but because I’m sure the parents would like the photo.

But cops are different. They don’t have to be treated so sensitively although some of them act as if they do.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 6:08 PM

george says:

Fair enough

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 6:10 PM

rk says:

Sungal,

I did find your comments interesting. Let me comment on them now:

“From reading your articles it seems like you’re always getting into trouble. However, you mentioned some cops act in a professional manner when you deal with them. Let’s say you photograph cops on ten different occasions..out of those ten times how many of them go smoothly?”

Only Carlos can answer that last part, but I did not get the impression he’s always getting into trouble, or maybe I need to read more articles by Carlos.

I never agree with provoking a police officer, however I am glad that photographers like you exist. We probably wouldn’t have learned about the Rodney King beating and police brutality towards minorities, had it not been for videographers and photograpers with the courage to document the horrible incidents.

I agree with your point about not provoking police officers, in fact I would go much further and not provoke anyone. However, I am not sure this is case of provoking the police. The police must be trained to provide their names and badge numbers to anyone upon request, unless they are under imminent threat or otherwise occupied, Such a request should never be considered a provocation. I don’t fully understand your reference to the Rodney King case, so I’ll pass on that.

Lets not even talk about the disturbing photos of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, but torture wouldn’t have been addressed without them.

Again I don’t know which photos, or why that is relevant, so pass on that.

On a lighter note, I got a great photo of the chef in Publix because I played a tourist and said my friends at home would never believe that a Florida grocery store had such an amazing Chinese food buffet. It was Gus’ idea and it worked!

Yes, great photos, and a very good article. I do remember particularly the smiling chef. I left a comment over there earlier. Hope to see more in the future!

For future stories, I’m looking forward to handing out a MB411 business card to prove I’ll use the photos in a professional manner.

That is a very good idea if you’re taking photos for publication. I don’t believe it should be required for taking pictures of the police on duty (unless it directly interferes with some ongoing work).

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 6:41 PM

Lizzy says:

carlos, what happens if this POLICE OFFICER is normally undercover and he gets pulled off of that assignment to a totally different district and put into a uniform where noone would normally recognize him, and here you go taking his picture and it appears somewhere and he is recognized and his cover is blown.  YOU PUT PEOPLES LIVES AT RISK SON.  You and your fuddy duddy camera pals toting the 1st ammendment will also be held liable.  Look it up moron.  Let’s hear this internal affairs police officer put his name here so we can all call and ask him if that is what he said.  One more thing carrrrrlos,  You’re a hack, all you do is take articles already published and rewrite them with your anti-police bias, think of something original instaed of using someone elses work.  And you call this journalism?  HA
You’re a ticking timebomb and would hope that this site distances themselves from you.  Don’t forget about those donations and taxes.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 6:51 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Lizzy,

That’s such a weak argument.

If it is so important than an undercover cop’s identity remain undercover, then the police department is putting him in danger by placing him in uniform and dropping him into the middle of one of the busiest weekends on Miami Beach.

And unless I’m hiring you to do my taxes, then don’t worry about my donations.

And why is it always the anonymous commenters demanding that I reveal my sources?

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 7:00 PM

Hazy says:

Lizzy,

STFU & GTFO. That’s the same rhetoric that I’ve heard cops use before, sorry but constitutional rights come before hypothetical situations like the one you present. I would further state that undercover agents should usually be fresh who have never worked a beat to insure against such a possibility. Your argument is flawed at best and intentionally deceptive at worst. You must work for a corrupt PD so please don’t spew your garbage on the internet again.

To Gus and Moore,

You guys seem to keep missing the point. It doesn’t matter if CM was drinking while working on an article. What matters was he took a photo, didn’t obey a cop’s unlawful order to delete it and got arrested. End of story.

You need to start taking the 1st amendment seriously. This is your livelihood and you are letting it erode because you don’t have the balls to do what people like CM do.

Would you prefer your stupid website to just do puff pieces about dolphins jumping out of the waters or do you want to tackle hard issues such as abuse of police power? It’s up to you, but it looks to me that you guys are cowards.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 9:32 PM

Paul from NY says:

I do have to when I read about your first arrest I had a little sympathy for you. After all I consider myself a photographer (although just as a hobby) and have been asked/told by police not to take pictures. I always do as they say, again I do it for a hobby and if I did it for a living I wouldn’t be so quick to do as they say. I wasn’t there when you were arrested the first time so if it happened the way you said it did then I’m glad you won your appeal. Your first arrest I believe you were just doing your job and trying to get a story or whatever and the situation got escaleted (either your fault or the police fault I don’t know) but I believe you had good intentions even if you caused the escalation.

As a result of your first arrest you now have a hatred for the police. You may not think you do but you can read it in your stories. Your blog is no longer about photography rights it’s about police misconduct and from what I’ve seen you just re-post stories you find on the internet.

Now comes your second arrest. From what I’ve read I don’t believe that you were just doing your job as you were the first time. By your own admission you had been drinking but thats not a big deal but I thought I’d mention it. I know you only had a couple beers but isn’t that what everybody says. It seems to me that you were not out doing your job but you were out to confront the police, maybe even hoping to get arrested. Again I wasn’t there but while I tend to take your side in the first arrest I tend to believe the police on your 2nd arrest, which now makes me question your first arrest. I don’t know I guess the best way to put it is your losing credibility.

Standing up for your rights is one thing but going out and goating the police is another, and if that is what you were doing, I’ll side with the police even if they were heavy handed as you say.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 9:50 PM

Hazy says:

Paul, you are not required to stop photographing or delete photographs. If you are doing so it is because you are afraid of exercising your 1st amendment right. A cowardly thing to do but that’s part for the average American.

Everyone is getting caught up in the argument that CM was doing a bad job, that he was drinking or not being sweet to the cops. This is irrelevant though. I wouldn’t care if CM was just an average person who had no journalistic experience whatsoever. The issue here is 1st amendment, these cops trampled upon that right, that’s all there is too it.

And to say that CM has developed bias towards police from his experience. Well sure but that does not diminish anything he has posted. It just means his eyes are now open to the deteroriation of this country.

It’s often that people do not take a passion in something until they themselves have been involved in the problem.

And for the last point that people seem to continue parroting like idiots, that CM just reposts other news articles…Welcome to the world of news. You have thousands of news agencies out in America, you think they are all the original source? Of course not. And having a different perspective on the same information can sometimes be eye opening if the audience has an open mind. Therefore there is value in reposting other news articles, especially if the journalist adds in their own opinion. That’s the whole point of op-ed, blogging is just the online evolution of that.

To CM,

Do not let these haters shake your resolve. These people have already lost their spirit and guts. They are barely humans any more.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 10:12 PM

Sungal says:

“There is a difference when you are taking photos inside a Publix of an employee than when you’re taking pics of cops in public for a story that is about cops.”

Not really, they’re both human and have emotions and opinions and reasons why they may or may not want to be photographed.

Cops are smart enough to understand the concept of you wanting a candid shot, and I’m sure they won’t pose and smile.

But like I said, it’s great that some people/photographers are willing to risk repurcussions and shoot iilegal police behavior like unlawful beatings.

Thanks rk for your response.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 10:57 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Cops are smart enough to understand the concept of you wanting a candid shot, and I’m sure they won’t pose and smile.

I don’t think you understand the definition of a candid journalistic shot. It normally doesn’t come with warning. Especially when you’re on the streets.

And hell, I’m human and I have my reasons why I don’t want my rights violated.

Posted on 01/12/2010 at 11:59 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Paul,

I can understand why you would think I would get arrested on purpose, but I can assure you that was not the case.

I was on probation for christ sakes, meaning a probation violation would send me before the same judge who hates me and whom I had been trashing on my blog for a year.

I’m not stupid.

A lot of people like to look at my “track record” but why don’t those people look at the track record of police who are arresting photographers?

I’m not the only photographer getting arrested. Just check out my blog if you don’t believe me.

But whatever. That’s the same attitude the judge gave me, telling me I got arrested on purpose in order to start a blog and become “a hero.”

If only I had that much foresight.

The bottom line is that the cop gave me an unlawful order which I refused. And it’s my constitutional right to do so.

Perhaps Paul you don’t think it’s worth the hassle to stand up for your rights. And that’s ok for you. But I have to live with myself.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 12:51 AM

Dave says:

I don’t understand how people are so ready to lay down their rights. Granted it’s their choice, I just don’t get it. If you want to obey every unlawful order you get from a cop, then by all means do so; however, you have no reason to disparage those of us that stand for our rights.

I wish I had a 1/3 the bravery Carlos has.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 11:55 AM

Hazy says:

Dave,

People are spineless jelly fish! Yes CM has bravery.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 6:54 PM

Martin says:

Or maybe some people just have respect for people’s privacy. If somebody doesn’t want to be photographed than you shouldn’t photograph them. Just because you are legally allowed to do something doesn’t mean you have to do it. It is not against the law for me to walk up to somebody and tell them they are fat but I don’t do it, does that make me a spineless jelly fish?

As far as photographing the police, I respect the police and would respect there wishes not to be photographed in most cases. Of course if I was a reporter and was at an actual newsworthy incident I would take pictures. If I was at a restaurant and a couple of cops sat down for dinner I wouldn’t start snapping pictures, that is rather rude. What some consider bravery others consider being rude.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 7:51 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Martin,

So are you saying you don’t believe this was a newsworthy event?

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 8:08 PM

Martin says:

I’m saying somebody who has a blog about how much he hates cops and just got done drinking at a local bar and starts taking pictures of cops who are not doing anything but standing around probably had an alternative motive.

Don’t insult our intelligence by hiding behind your job as a “reporter”. Just say it, I don’t like cops and I was taking their picture to see what kind of reaction I would. That at least would be respectable.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 8:33 PM

Hazy says:

Martin,

Yes, it makes you a spineless jelly fish. People like you make me sick. You roll over and are comfortable in the subservient role you have built for yourself. I am not that way. I am a freedom lover. If you don’t want to take pictures of cops because you think it’s rude, that’s fine, there are plenty of other people out there that know better.

On the comment that you would not call someone fat even though you can. Yeah it’s called the right of free speech. There are many people out there saying things that I don’t like, but as long as they are not calling for harm against someone that is protected speech under the 1st amendment.

You think police and government are getting our permission when they are filming us? Of course not. Get over your fear of the camera because it’s already being used against the citizenry. It’s only fair that if police and the government film us that we can also film them, whether or not they find it rude is irrelevant.

You have no expectation of privacy in public whether you are a cop, the pope of the president of the USA. Privacy is the antithesis of public, you get it yet?

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 8:44 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Whatever, Martin. You can believe whatever you want to believe. You’re not the first person to psycho-analyze my actions in an attempt to find a deeper motive.

But unless you have concrete evidence, you’re just assuming and you know what they say about people who assume.

Right now, you’re just letting your prejudices blind you to the facts, which ironically, it’s what you’re accusing me of doing.

As far as me “hating cops” on my blog, you should get the opinion of some of the cops who actually read and comment on my blog.

Even the ones who disagree with most of what I write don’t believe I hate cops.

But they do tell me I’m a little jaded and they’re right. But there is a difference in being jaded from having a bad experience to outright hating cops.

And the ones who agree with me actually send me tips that lead to articles on my blog because they’re just as disgusted as I am with some of the actions of their peers.

And as far as the cop not doing anything but standing around, doesn’t that make you wonder why he overreacted so much?

You’re blaming me for trying to get a reaction out of him but you see no problem with him overreacting into a barking bully?

And you have the gall to call me biased?

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 8:50 PM

Martin says:

I think people do have some expectation of privacy in a public place. I’m not afraid of cameras and I’m not afraid of the police filming me if I happen to run a red light and get pulled over or need to talk to me for some reason.

So apparently you think it’s ok to call people racial slurs because it’s “freedom of speech”.

Unlike you I don’t need the constitution to tell me what I should and should not do. I live by common sense and have respect for other people, if the constitution said it was ok to beat children I wouldn’t do it just because it was my right. I can make up my own mind on how I behave I don’t need somebody else telling me what I should and shouldn’t do.

BTW I tend not to break the law so I have no reason to fear the police.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 8:52 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Nobody has an expectation of privacy in public. Especially on South Beach’s Espanola Way on a Saturday night on Memorial Day Weekend.

Just because you believe that doesn’t make it true. For somebody who is spouting “common sense”, you don’t seem to have any.

Really, comparing child abuse to photographing cops?

And that’s great you’re not afraid of cameras or of police filming you. Me neither.

But don’t you find it strange that some cops are afraid of cameras?

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 9:03 PM

Martin says:

Who says there is no expectation of privacy in public?

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 9:23 PM

Carlos Miller says:

The law.

Unless you’re inside a public bathroom or a locker room or a dressing room or anywhere else where common sense dictates that you would have an expectation of privacy, you don’t.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 9:31 PM

Martin says:

For that matter who says photography is a first amendmant right? It doesn’t say anything about photgraphy.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 9:33 PM

Martin says:

Oh the law says you don’t, so you just pick and choose the laws you like?

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 9:34 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Numerous court rulings have stated that photography is protected under the First Amendment.

It has never reached the Supreme Court because there has been no need to.

Seriously, Martin, I’m enjoying debating you but by questioning if photography is even protected by the First Amendment brings this debate down to a 101 level.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 9:43 PM

Martin says:

When the Supreme Court says it then it is, until then it’s up for debate.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 9:51 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Maybe in Cuba but not in the U.S. It’s been settled already.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a lawyer or a judge willing to take on that debate.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 9:56 PM

Hazy says:

“I think people do have some expectation of privacy in a public place. I’m not afraid of cameras and I’m not afraid of the police filming me if I happen to run a red light and get pulled over or need to talk to me for some reason.”

You are contradicting yourself. It’s ok for one set of people(police) to film me, but other people(citizens) need to get your permission. Yah there are other countries that are like this, they are the wastelands of communism. If you enjoy this type of society, perhaps you should GTFO of my country and go there.

“So apparently you think it’s ok to call people racial slurs because it’s “freedom of speech”.”

Whether it’s ok or not is irrelevant, you are confusing ethics with laws. They are different things. Anyways racial slurs are constitutionally protected speech. If somebody calls me a nigger on the street, I cannot go after them in a court of law.

“Unlike you I don’t need the constitution to tell me what I should and should not do. I live by common sense and have respect for other people, if the constitution said it was ok to beat children I wouldn’t do it just because it was my right.”

Again you are attempting to mix another argument into civil rights. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that harming another person is right.

“I can make up my own mind on how I behave I don’t need somebody else telling me what I should and shouldn’t do.”

You should listen to me because obviously you have the intelligence of a middle schooler, you lack the understanding of constitional rights which are taught all through K-12.

“Who says there is no expectation of privacy in public?”

Common sense and the law. Let me pose a hypothetical situation for this forum. If I can see you with my two eyes doing something in public, for example(you are with another woman other than your wife). And then I go to your wife and tell her that I saw you with another woman, I have not invaded your privacy. This situation has come up before. A man was with someone other than his wife, a speed camera(I am not advocating that speed cameras are good things) took his picture with this other woman in the car. The county sent a photo of the speed infraction and his wife found out he was having an affair, divorced him and took 50% of his wealth in the divorce settlement. This man filed a suit against the county saying that his right to privacy had been violated. The court held that his privacy had not been infringed due to the fact that he was in a public place and ruled in favor of the county.

“For that matter who says photography is a first amendmant right? It doesn’t say anything about photgraphy. “

It is under the clause of freedom of press. Photographers, photojournalists, filmographers, etc, all fall within this category of “press”. The minute you pick up a camera and take a picture, you are considered press.

“When the Supreme Court says it then it is, until then it’s up for debate.”

It is in the constitution, there is no need to go to supreme court to debate this. And I have never heard of an instance in where something was ever removed from the constitution, only added. If that was the case, our country would be very different without the constitution right now, probably similar to Russia.

OK, I’ve countered all your weak arguments. You can shut up now Martin, class is dismissed.

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 10:30 PM

Carlos Miller says:

One thing that bothers me is people taking photos of homeless people while they’re asleep. They deserve the same respect as anyone else, and they should be asked. They’re a person, they’re not a landscape object.

Sungal,

In order to show the ugly side of reality and to force people to pay attention to something they normally ignore, you have to photograph it.

Posted on 01/14/2010 at 12:29 AM

Hazy says:

If you really respect the homeless, go help them. Go to a soup kitchen, volunteer in some way. Don’t lump an irrelevant issue with 1st amendment struggles.

I bet Sungal has never even volunteered and s/he is now advocating for their behalf, go shoot yourself you fake philanthropist.

Posted on 01/14/2010 at 12:38 AM

rk says:

Hazy, I agree with almost everything you said, but you’re being too harsh on sungal and others. The very fact they’re commenting here means they do care. I would rather focus on the topic at hand (about which I think you’re correct) and not get diverted into personal (even if colorful) attacks.

Posted on 01/14/2010 at 1:03 PM

Juicy lowdown J says:

Nah Hazy Is Pretty funny.

He’s right. Sungal is a fake philanthropist.

Posted on 01/14/2010 at 1:29 PM

Paco poco says:

Carlos, Gus: demagogs, get a life and stop looking for protagonism… focus on Money, your family and other fruitful things, if you didn’t make the big time by age 28 you are in the void zone.  Nobody cares about your neuroticisms… and for the rest of the commentators (including myself) why waste time?  these pretenders are not “Miami”.

Posted on 03/26/2010 at 9:19 AM

Nicole says:

The other officer is Officer Reina. He arrested me for NOT SIGNING A TICKET for failure to stop at a stop sign and I spent 16 hours in Dade County jail. I just want locals to know that YOU MUST SIGN A TICKET or else you go to jail. The officer did not tell me this, he decided to teach me a lesson the hard way. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did.
South Beach is not the same place it used to be. I used to be friendly with the police. Now I am scared of them.
I’m scared to drive at night in my own town that I have lived in for 10 years.

Posted on 04/22/2010 at 9:30 AM

Evan says:

I can’t believe it is legal to arrest someone for resisting arrest with no other charges. In what world does that make any sense? Only in a power hungry cops mind is resisting arrest without force an actual crime. What the hell does it even mean?

The people sticking up for the officer in this one are complete spineless sheep. You all probably turn off your cell phones in airplanes too. Idiots.

And as far as the following goes:
“You were intoxicated. (Unprofessional)
You got “mouthy” (Unprofessional).
You got arrested.
3 Strikes you’re out.”


He had a couple of beers. Wtf is wrong with that? If the cop thought he was intoxicated, he would’ve given him a breathalyzer. Public drunkenness is an actual crime that could be proven or disproven very easily. The cop obviously knew he was NOT in fact drunk, or he would’ve taken the evidence to prove it.

And being “mouthy”? What does that even mean? Since when is being mouthy a crime?

Posted on 04/29/2010 at 6:53 PM

Larry says:

I spent 26 years as a police officer and over 40 years as a professional photographer, (yes, I started getting paid for photography at 12 years old).  I continued my professional photography during my off-duty times while on the force.  I know both sides of the fence.
 
If you are the Miami Herald photographer with 2-3 cameras and an ID card around your neck and use a little tact, you probably can photograph anyone.  If you are a 411 bar magazine photographer, then you might need a slight bit more tact.  Is everything in public fair game – mostly! 

Let me cut to the point:  It’s better to walk up to a group of officers, tell what you are doing and ask permission – yea I know you can argue all day about rights – but if they say no – if they ask you to delete a previously taken picture – if they tell you to leave the area – do what they say. Then bright and early the next business day, get off your butt and remember how mad you were when it happened and GO TO INTERNAL AFFAIRS AND MAKE A COMPLAINT!  - or – Go to the public information officer (PIO) and make the complaint there. Get the PIO’s name, possibly an afterhour’s pager number, tell him/her that you will be taking photos over and over again, everywhere at anytime, and don’t want to keep risking arrest.  Ask to see the department’s SOP on dealing with reporters and photographers.  If the police brush you off, go to the public corruption section of the State Attorney’s Office – they are your (free) lawyers for enforcing the public records laws.  And while I mentioned public records, there are exemptions for publishing photos of law enforcement and certain government personnel in Florida State Statue 119.

In the middle of the night, the man with the badge, blue lights, gun, taser, and 40 ready to go backup officers is the boss.  If he is wrong it is your DUTY to do what I said above.  Challenging them on the street is stupid.  It’s almost impossible to COMPLETELY expunge an arrest.  There is sometimes a mug shot numbers records book or deep back up computer reel somewhere that is overlooked by even the best lawyers.  Also, try to expunge a newspaper report of the arrest – it will live in ones and zeros forever, and the “not guilty” verdict will never be reported. You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.
The way you get even for an unlawful arrest (after you honestly tried to avoid it) is to sue, win, and collect enough money that you don’t care about ones and zeroes.  Just never try to fight the police verbally or physically on the street.  Sometimes it takes a six figure lawsuit to get the police department brass to institute a training course about the rights of photographers, reporters, and citizens on the street.  Something they should have done before they paid out a million dollar judgment.  To reiterate, stop by the public information office and introduce yourself, and let them know you’ll be everywhere at any time and want to avoid problems.  Also a few donated 11x14’s of some positive pictuere YOU shot hung in the role call room (that every officers sees that you can refer to when talking to a rookie) is worth more than a gold plated press pass.  (You’ll even be further shocked when the officer asks you how much you charge to photograph his wedding!).

Posted on 05/16/2010 at 4:51 AM

Marc-André says:

Mr Miller, I find it incredible that some people are giving you flak for standing up for your rights (and our rights too, by the same occasion).

A big “thank you” and my sincere hopes that your actions help restore the balance of power for the best.

Posted on 07/18/2010 at 12:34 PM

photojournalist says:

@Larry. Larry you claim to know both sides of the picture. But it appears you clearly do not. You may be a photographer and a former police officer, but you are NOT a journalist, and judging by your comments, you clearly know nothing of the media’s rights.

A photographer DOES NOT have to delete a photo just because a police officer asks them to. It is YOUR property, and if the police tamper with it it is a criminal offence. Photographers (professional or amateur) DO NOT need consent before taking a photo in public space of a police officer. By your logic, the next time a police officer make an arrest in public space, they should also arrest any curious passerby who film the incident with a cell phone camera.

You suggest that Carlos should have gone through a proper complaint process instead of challenging the officer on the street. WHAT EVIDENCE WOULD HE FILE A COMPLAINT WITH?!?!?!?!?! HE’S JUST BEEN ASKED TO DELETE HIS PHOTOGRAPHS! And if he complied and deleted his photos like you suggested, he wouldn’t even be able to prove he was on the street that day!

You may ASK that the photographer stop taking pictures of you, especially if they are intruding in your personal space. You can even ask them to leave a certain area if it’s cordoned off for police activity. But you cannot arrest them for shooting a picture from a long distance, without flash, in a public space during a public event. Please read the first amendment more carefully before starting your next shift.

Your suggestion that he introduce himself to the PIO is a good tip. However, the average cop on the street knows NOTHING of a reporter’s interaction or relationship with the PIO’s office. Carlos got arrested in the middle of the night. The PIO would not have been on duty to help him out anyway.

And what about everyone else at that event who has a cell phone camera, and wanted to snap a pic of the cops? The introduction line at the PIO’s office would be a mile long. Are only certain people (those friendly with the PIO) allowed to film police officers while others are not? What kind of police-state logic is that?

The issue here is that the cops were ready to arrest EVERYONE with a camera filming them. They likely would have arrested Carlos even if he was the PIO’s twin brother.

From your lengthy tirade, I gather that you’re suggesting a member of the fourth estate (and the public for that matter) should resign all constitutional rights just because “the man with the badge, blue lights, gun, taser, and 40 ready to go backup officers” says so. If said man with a gun wants to arbitrarily search my home, my car, and take me to Guantanamo bay without a warrant, should I just bend over and “file a complaint” in the morning?

Get real.

Carlos did nothing wrong. He may or may not have been rude. He may or may not have been testy. He may or may not have acted with tact. But having a bad attitude towards police is not a crime. No law says you have to say “please” “thank you” or “have a nice day” when approached by police.

It seems in your ideal world, a reporter would empty their pockets, rip up their notes, delete all their photos and cuff themselves if a police officer simply asks them to. They would only be allowed to start filming when officers set up a staged photo-op where they are seen handing out lollipops to school children or helping old ladies cross the street.  That “ideal world” would be called a fascist police state, FYI. Not to sound like a left-wing kook, but that is the hard truth.

Why should a reporter delete a photo just because a man with a gun demands it? Is it because the police have something to hide? Are they afraid someone might film them on a power trip, beating someone senseless for no reason, or doing something else that is illegal? In case you don’t remember, it wasn’t a fellow police officer who caught video evidence of what happened to Rodney King.

Cops often complain journalists are leftist hippies. But the type of power trip Carlos was subjected to would likely be enough to anger reporters at Fox News.

The fourth estate exists to keep police like you accountable to the standards of your profession, whether you like it or not. The police does not tell the media how to do their jobs. Checks and balances my friend. It’s how this country works.

I cannot begin to explain to you the extent to which your comments contradict the principles of democracy, accountability and freedom that your very country was founded on. The very insinuation that someone in a position of power can exercise it with impunity on the streets is un-American to say the least.

I don’t think you would disagree with me when I say the streets were NOT safer that night just because Carlos was behind bars.

Posted on 06/12/2011 at 12:27 AM

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