Jim Winters, friend, fellow photographer and operator of Nikon Miami, was almost arrested after taking photos inside a Miami Dunkin’ Donuts late Wednesday night.
He said he took a photo of a store employee who did not mind being photographed, but another employee who was in the background became upset and tossed a bucket of water on him, soaking him and his friend and damaging his $8,000 camera.
“I told her that if she was a guy, I would have slapped her,” he said.
After both parties called the cops, ten squad cars pulled up within seconds. He said the cops were going to arrest him for disorderly conduct and a felony charge for threatening the employee but after reviewing a surveillance video tape, they released him with no charges.
But he ended up detained for almost two hours while police sorted the situation out.
Coincidentally, the daughter of the store manager is a friend of mine as well as a reader of Photography is Not a Crime.
Suzy, who posts here under Magic City Mama, said the video camera will prove that Jim was taunting the employees mercilessly with his camera.
She said she will post the video on her blog once she gets it.
The incident started a little after 10 p.m. when Jim, his girlfriend and his friend Mark walked into the Dunkin Donuts at Biscayne Blvd and 52nd St., which is right down the street from where I was arrested two years ago.
He sent me a text message as the cops were sorting through the facts. We talked briefly, which enabled me to post something online, but we talked more extensively after he had gotten home.
This is how he explains it.
His girlfriend, Lorna, was carrying a small puppy they had recently adopted. The employees ordered the puppy out, which was surprising because they did not say anything about the puppy the previous evening. Nevertheless, his girlfriend walked outside with the dog.
Meanwhile, one of the employees kept telling him not to take her photo. He said he was respecting her wishes not to take her photo.
But a second employee did not have a problem with him taking her photo, but the first employee was in the background and became irate and tossed the bucket of water on him.
According to Suzy (who has not seen the video but spoke to her father), the video shows that they refused to walk out with the dog when ordered to do so. She also says the video shows him continually taking photos of the employee who did not want to be photographed (but who apparently doesn’t have a problem being filmed while on the clock).
Jim said that Dunkin Donuts were insisting that cops confiscate Jim’s cameras, but Jim said he deleted the photos he took to keep them from confiscating it. He ended up retrieving the photos using recovery software. The photo is posted above.
He said the cops told him he was not allowed back in the Dunkin’ Donuts, which is fine with him.
I am a multimedia journalist who has been fighting a lengthy legal battle after having photographed Miami police against their wishes in Feb. 2007. Please help the fight by donating to my Legal Defense Fund in the top left sidebar, which helps pay for the thousands of dollars I’ve acrued in debt since my arrest. To keep updated on the latest articles, join my networks at Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed.