After a 50 State Security guard attacked me last week for daring to enter into a Miami-Dade Metrorail station with a camera, I’ve been receiving loads of suggestions for an all-out photo protest where we swarm the stations with cameras to reestablish our right to take pictures on the transit system.
After all, Miami-Dade County law specifically states that we are allowed to take pictures or shoot video on the Metrorail without any prior permission.
The only exception is unless we are shooting for commercial purposes, which was not the case with me the last two times I was harassed nor would it be the case if we all swarm the stations with our cameras.
Unfortunately, neither the security guards nor the police who keep responding to these incidents have a clue over the actual law.
Here is what Miami-Dade County Code 30B-5 (2) states:
Commercial photography or recording. No person, unless authorized in writing by MDTA or the County Manager when appropriate under Section 2-11.14 of this Code, shall take still, motion, or sound motion pictures or sound records or recordings of voices or otherwise for commercial, training or educational purposes, other than news coverage anywhere in the transit system.
The law if further broken down in Miami-Dade County Ordinance Sec. 2-11.14 (2) (iii).
“[n]othing in this section shall require any permit from: (i) Individuals filming or video taping only for their own personal or family use; (ii) Employees of print or electronic news media when filming on-going news events. This exception shall not apply to simulations or re-enactments orchestrated by print or electronic news media; or (iii) Students and faculty filming exclusively for educational purposes. “
Furthermore, Eric Muntan, Chief, Office of Safety and Security at Miami-Dade Transit, personally told journalist Stretch Ledford that photography is allowed on the Metrorail unless it is done for commercial purposes. Ledford not only has an email from Muntan confirming this, he has a recording of a telephone interview with Muntan.
So I say we move forward with this protest this Sunday, August 8, at 1 p.m. EST.
The idea would be to meet at the Douglas Road Station, pay the $2 to walk through the turnstiles, pull out our cameras and then defend ourselves from the overly aggressive security guards who are guaranteed to attack us.
No, I’m just kidding.
The idea is to walk through the turnstiles with out cameras in large numbers so we overwhelm the overly aggressive security guards who will have no choice but to pull out their guns and shoot us.
I kid. I kid.
The idea is to walk through the turnstiles with our cameras in large numbers so we overwhelm the overly aggressive security guards who will then have no choice but to get on their radios and call for back-up and police, who will then arrive on the scene and seek me out and shoot me dead once and for all for making such an issue over this.
Ha ha. Yes, I kid again.
The idea is to show these sonofabitches that we are not going to let them trample upon our First Amendment rights.
Readers have also suggested to that we plan this protest nationwide at the same time and I would love to see that happen but as a realist, I understand that it would be nearly impossible to get enough people to join the protest in Miami.
After all, most people are purely lackadaisical when it comes to these things.
Even in New York, a city of more than 8 million people, only 100 photographers showed up to protest a proposed ban against photography on the subways in 2004.
But that protest along written protests from organizations such as the National Press Photographers Association was enough to force the Metropolitan Transit Authority to drop its proposed ban on photography within the city’s subway system.
So I’m throwing the idea out there. Nationwide. But it’s up to you guys to make it happen.