September 18, 2012 2:43 PM
Photography is Not a Crime (PINAC) founder Carlos Miller's trial begins today in Miami, Florida.
Miller was arrested on January 31, 2012 while covering the eviction, by the Miami Dade Police department of Occupy Miami protesters.
In the video link I have posted at the bottom, footage from Miller's video camera shows Miami Dade police officers dressed in full riot gear, wielding batons.
At about the 3:50 mark of the video, Miami Dade police Major Nancy Perez, who happens to be the Public Information officer (PIO) is seen extending her arm out towards Miller as to block him, before calling out to her fellow officers, "Prisoner", at which point other Miami Dade cops can be heard yelling "Arrestee! Arrestee!"
Perez can also be heard telling a relaxed Carlos Miller, "We don't wanna have to hurt you."
What followed was Miami Dade police arresting Carlos Miller on Obstructing Justice and Resisting without violence.
As someone who has been arrested over my work as a filmmaker and activist exposing the Rochester, NY Police department, let me say that these two b.s. charges are just that -- B.S.
And, 9 times out of 10, they go hand in hand when cops arrest someone.
In New York, they refer to them as Resisting Arrest and Obstructing Governmental Administration, or "O.G.A." for short.
After Carlos Miller was arrested and booked, Miami Dade Police deleted some of his camera's footage leading up to the arrest.
Miller was later able to recover the deleted footage.
Carlos Miller has been arrested for taking photographs of police twice, prior to this latest incident.
He has beaten both cases, including a resisting arrest conviction which he had reversed on appeal pro se (meaning Miller represented himself).
I don't only consider Miller a mentor in many ways, but also a good friend.
Photography is Not a Crime has covered some of the most interesting cases involving photographers and videographers who have have been unjustly and falsely arrested by overzealous police officers, who either don't know the law when it comes to a citizen's right to photograph and record law enforcement, or they simply don't care.
After Miller's arrest, Miami Dade Police Major Nancy Perez, again, the department's Public Information officer, in referring to blogs said "they don't put out information that is relevant to the community."
Major Perez then went on to say "I don't know enough about the-- I mean, I know nowadays all the kids blog," when explaining her understanding of blogging.
One would think that as the PIO of a major metropolitan police department, Perez would at least pretend like she knows what's going on, when it comes to the internet, instead of sounding well, stupid.
She obviously didn't have any idea that, Miller's site is far from anything a kid would blog.
In fact, since launching PINAC in 2007, Miller and his blog have been mentioned in ABC News, NBC Washington, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, The Miami Herald, USA Today, NPR's Talk of the Nation, and the list goes on.
In 2010, PINAC won the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Best of Blog Award for "Best Overall Blog," beating out almost 200 other local blogs.
Last January, Carlos Miller was named one of Miami's Best Bloggers by the Miami New Times.
Although it will be Carlos Miller sitting in the defendant's chair this morning, in courtroom 6-6 of the Miami Justice Building, I believe at stake, is a part of every one of us, and our First Amendment right as Americans.
Our right to take photos of police officers doing their job, or in this case, abusing their power.
Carlos Miller's arrest video
Carlos Miller's site Photography Is Not A Crime
Update: After ignoring several requests made by the judge to Miami Dade Police Major Nancy Perez that she provide Carlos Miller's attorney with the Miami Dade Police department's Standard Operating Procedures dictating how police should interact with the media, and Major Perez refusing to comply with those orders, the judge ordered the case continued.
I will update this post when the news date is known.
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