|Carlos Miller being choked by security officer R. Myers.|
January 21, 2013 10:50 pm
Carlos Miller, founder of Photography Is Not a Crime website which advocates citizens' First Amendment rights to photograph and video record law enforcement officials, was assaulted, thrown down an escalator and choked by Miami-Dade Metrorail security officers employed by the company 50 State Security, on Sunday night.
Miller was with a friend who was visiting from California, waiting for the metro when he was showing his friend the historic, Miami-Dade Courthouse building, when security guards made an announcement over the loudspeaker that the pair could not take photos, or video record.
In the video, which I have posted below, two security guards can be seen approaching Miller.
Almost instantly, in typical security/law enforcement fashion, a security officer by the last name Perez creates, then escalates a completely unnecessary situation.
"Turn off the camera or you're going to have to leave", Perez tells Miller.
At one point Perez asks Miller if he has been drinking, which is irrelevant as Miller is not driving, he's waiting for a train.
Miller can be seen telling the security officers that he has every tight to record, but it quickly becomes clear they don't want to hear it.
At one point, a third security officer is called in and this is where things quickly go downhill-literally.
As Miller is at the top of the escalator, going down, he is pushed by the security officers.
One of the guards is seen on the video attempting to cover up the video recording device that Miller's friend is holding.
Then, while at the bottom of the escalator, one security officer, R. Myers, can be seen holding Miller in a choke hold.
"I can't breathe, I can't breathe", Miller is seen telling his friend, who I'd like to add, did a great job at documenting everything on video, something I always tell people to do.
Then security officer R. Myers, who clearly does not want Miller's friend recording, tells him "You're going to jail next", in an attempt to intimidate him, as he continues to choke Miller.
I'm not sure these officers knew who they were messing with.
First of all, they sounded so ignorant, with Perez not even able to back up his bogus bullshit claim that Miller could not record, when we all know Carlos Miller, as does anyone, has every right to record or take photos, but most importantly, their ignorance led them to pick on the wrong guy, Carlos Miller.
Miller, who founded Photography Is Not a Crime in 2007, after being arrested by Miami Dade police for photographing them, has been arrested three times, for photographing and/or recording police officers.
And has beaten each and every one.
His most recent victory, stemmed from a January 31, 2012 arrest ordered by Miami-Dade Police Major Nancy Perez, who is the department's public information officer.
Miller was covering the Miami Dade police department's evacuation of Occupy Miami protesters in downtown Miami.
After that arrest, Miami-Dade police officers erased Miller's video from his camera, but Miller was later able to recover it.
Miller also has a pending lawsuit against Miami-Dade Metrorail stemming from a previous incident where he was roughed up for also taking photos and video.
I will be updating this post.
Click Play to watch video.
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Here is my friend’s account of the incident:
It’s tough to stand up for your constitutional rights. And it’s tough to stand up to authority.
I’m glad I have Carlos to do it for me – and that’s why I support him.
When I told people I was going to Miami to visit Carlos, one of my dearest friends, people joked about not bailing me out.
But I didn’t think twice when Carlos suggested taking the Metrorail after watching the Ravens game. And what’s the worst that could happen when at the Government Center station we walked to the end of the platform to take a photo of the art deco courthouse.
Things changed so quickly. A voice on the PA said something about stop taking pictures and a couple of security guards came. They immediately said we couldn’t take pictures of the rail and we had to leave. After some tense back and forth, Carlos slowly made his way to the escalator. Then the guards shoved him and started to try to put the cuffs on – as he stepped on to the escalator. They all tumbled to the metal steps toward me. Gutierrez stopped helping subdue Carlos, inexplicably to grab my camera. He knocked it out of my hands and it turned off. But I grabbed it and turned it back on to capture Myers with Carlos in a choke hold, Carlos’ shirt was ripped and his shoes were off.
Soon I was handcuffed and so was Carlos. I had never been in handcuffs before – and though the guards and the police were gentle with me – the cuffs still bruised my wrists and strained my back. I was really afraid of what was going to happen – and I was barely involved. But I felt guilty for just being there with Carlos. I felt guilty for taking photos in a public place in the land of the free and the home of the brave. And I was scared because I had been a witness to what happened – abuse of power under the color of the law. In the end, Carlos was assaulted – not because he broke any laws – but because he didn’t do what he was told. As if we were in an Eastern Bloc country during the Cold War.
When Perez finally heard the name of the founder of PhotographyIsNotaCrime.com, he repeated it like cuss words – “Carlos Miller.”
Of course they didn’t cite us for the crime of photography. Not for intoxication (which we weren’t) or even trespassing. But after more than an hour in cuffs, the Miami-Dade officers argued about the charge (speaking in Spanish sometimes) until deciding that we would be charged with being loud.
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