August 3, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut
Carlos Miller Being Attacked On The Miami Metrorail For Taking Pictures
Carlos Miller, a Miami blogger is the chief cook and bottle washer of the website, Photography Is Not A Crime. He started the website back in 2007 when he was arrested for taking pictures of Miami police officers… From a public sidewalk! After being acquitted of all charges, he began to look for and blog about other instances of photographers being detained, harassed and arrested for taking pictures (which is protected by the first amendment to the US Constitution) from a public vantage point. What that means to the layperson is that if you can see something from a public place, you are allowed to photograph it. This includes federal buildings, bridges, police officers, protest marches, arrests, fires, traffic accidents, beaches and parks.
This really is a common sense idea that shouldn’t NEED an actual amendment to the constitution, but our fore-fathers had incredible fore-sight, and we should thank the creator they did. For some unknown reason, public servants, police officers and security guards think they can CREATE laws, because they ENFORCE laws.
San Diego Trolley Guards Prohibit Photography
The video above was filmed by me on September 5, 2009, a little after 8pm at the 12th & Imperial trolley station in San Diego, CA. My original blog post that featured this video can be viewed here. In a nutshell, the man being tackled was illegally smoking in the transit center, refused to put out his cigarette and was subsequently tackled to the ground and led away in handcuffs. The problem, or the issue that I had with all of this was that the security guards told me I was not allowed to take pictures. To me, this was an instant red flag. Four non-peace officers (private citizens) tackled a man, put him in hand cuffs and led him away in a PUBLIC transit station, yet photographing the event was prohibited?!? Bullshit. I shopped the video around and it was picked up by the local NBC affiliate less than two weeks later. It was while shopping the video that I came across Carlos Miller’s website, contacted him and he featured the video and the story in an article in February 2010. After Carlos Miller ran my story, the San Diego Reader also ran a story, later in the month. The author of the SD Reader story, Kathryn Snyder found out that the security firm would not release the incident report for the arrest, and this was also reported in a second article on Carlos Miller’s site.
It wasn’t until it happened to me that I realized just how widespread this problem is. Police and security guards have no right to prohibit photography in a public place, yet they are doing so ALL THE TIME. It was a wake up call because hardly any of the hundreds of similar incidents that Carlos Miller has reported on his blog over the last three years get reported by the mainstream media. Until now, that is, and it’s all thanks to Carlos Miller. So, I would very much recommend that you look at through his website and realize the good he is doing for all of us. PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT A CRIME!