His blog, Photography is not a Crime, has stood at the forefront of the movement to record the conduct of police in public, revealing both the dirty underbelly of real “police work” and undermining the long history of misconduct and abuse that was never provable and therefore officially denied. Carlos Miller chronicled it all.
And now he’s been busted. Again.
From the Miami New Times :
Local journalist Carlos Miller has a blog called Photography is Not a Crime. Apparently Miami-Dade police officers are not avid readers.
County cops arrested Miller on Tuesday night as he was filming the Fuzz forcibly evacuating Occupy Miami protesters from Government Center downtown. But he says the police are the ones who messed up.
Seriously, they messed up. Not merely because Carlos, of all photographers, knows his rights, but because Carlos is the national posterboy for the right to record “the fuzz.”
Aside: When is the last time anyone called the cops “the fuzz”? It brings back fond memories. Good times.
The problem isn’t just that they arrested Carlos for doing what he is entitled to do. Nothing new there,
But Miller says the cops really screwed up when they allegedly deleted his footage. Miami Dade Police declined to comment.
“If you’re going to arrest me for doing nothing, fair enough, that’s your stupidity,” Miller says. “But to delete my images… that shows that they were afraid of my footage getting out. That’s totally illegal.”
It’s easy enough to claim that he was doing something to “obstruct” the police. Any allegation will do, plus they can always jazz it up with some officer safety references and put on the scared police officer face when they tell the judge about their split second decisions and how they do it for the children. But deleting his images can’t be explained. Seize him. Seize the camera. That’s one thing. Deleting the content of the camera takes the officers allegations into an entirely different arena.
Ironically, it’s not as if Carlos had captured terrible police abuse.
Miller says that the police were actually doing an admirable job clearing Government Center without violence.Maybe he could have sold back his video to the fuzz as a training film for the right way to rid polite society of ramshackle tents. But whatever he might have done with the images, he can’t do it now. Because they deleted them. Big mistake.
As test cases go, this is about as perfect an opportunity as they come. If you had to pick a person to do it, Carlos Miller would be the guy. If you had to pick a situation where even Judge Posner wouldn’t have felt just awful about making the cops look unpleasant, this was it. When the police pinched Carlos Miller and deleted his images, they really messed up. Really.
No doubt Carlos has long since been released from the holding cell, showered and gotten a good night’s sleep, so he doesn’t need any of us to raise a ruckus in support of his release. Still, the words are worth saying, if not for Carlos, then for every other photographer, videographer, or citizen with a cellphone camera.
Free Carlos Miller.