It is very late. Or very early. Depending on how much sleep you got.
Coincidentally, a Photography is Not a Crime reader had a bad experience with Miami Beach police tonight. That shouldn’t be surprising considering what we know of the department.
Here is the entire cut and paste of an email I received less than an hour ago. Photos will be posted soon. There’s nothing telling in them.
On March 25, 2010, at approximately 2:55 AM CST, two police officers driving a white Dodge Avenger took a left turn into the Sagamore Hotel on Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL. The officers executed a sharp, fast left turn and cut off an individual who was eating a pizza. Unable to react to the officers’ sudden movements, the individual ran into the police vehicle’s passenger side. A police officer with dark, short hair with side burns, ran out of the vehicle, ran up to the individual, and said, “What do you think you’re doing you mother fucker. We’re trying to do something here. I will bust your fucking teeth out. Why don’t you drink some more you fucking drunk.” At which point, I pulled out my cellular phone and told the officer I was videotaping him and the police officer left the individual alone and returned to his business. I called 911 and told the operator what happened. The operator recorded the time, location, license plate number of the police vehicle, and description of the incident. She asked me if the individual would like to press charges and I said that he ran away for fear of being physically assaulting by a verbally threatening police officer. I gave the operator my phone number and name and she said that a police sergeant would contact me tomorrow. I went back to my hotel room, grabbed my camera, and returned to the scene to photograph the police officers involved. The Caucasian police officer blocked the license plate number so I couldn’t photograph it. The dark haired police officer was sitting in the passenger seat writing something. Upon seeing me photograph him, he said: “A lot of good that will do you, you mother fucking piece of shit.” I walked away and took more pictures and one of them said: “Keep taking pictures you potbellied mother fucker, why don’t you try doing some sit ups you piece of shit.” I left and returned to my hotel room.
The outcome of this incident will obviously be in the police officers’ favor. It is their word against ours and I’m sure some they will retell a story very different from mine. I don’t expect any justice in this matter. I just hope that the police officers involved will recognize that what they did was inappropriate for an officer of the peace and realize that there are vigilant citizens on the streets with the technology to record misconduct. My vacation to Miami Beach, FL was safe and uneventful until I witnessed police officers engaging in threatening, unprofessional behavior to innocent bystanders. While I understand that the police have to put up with so much, it is important to remember that in this country EVERYONE is innocent until proven guilty and we should be able to walk the streets without fear of assault from the very police officers who are suppose to be insuring our safety. When and if I return to Miami Beach, I will be sure to travel in groups and with cameras to protect myself from police misconduct. It is unfortunate that I am more afraid of the police than anything or anyone else on Miami Beach. I share this incident to educate America and urge people to both respect police officers and keep them accountable for their actions. It is important for us to share stories of police abuse in order keep the public aware. I encourage everyone involved in such incidents to report, record details, and photograph the officers involved. Hopefully, when the officers involved see their faces, they will be reminded of the public they swore to protect.
P.S. I received a voicemail on my phone March 25, 2010 at 3:52 AM from a “Sergeant Young.” The message simply said: “This is Sergeant Young, Miami Beach Police calling you back,” and hung up. He left no return phone number of instructions.