On Saturday, a group of South Florida photographers descended upon a Miami-Dade Metrorail Station to see how would we be received.
After all, after our successful photo protest last month in which we were welcomed with open arms with our cameras, another photographer was harassed for taking photos.
The first photographer to arrive on Saturday, a freelance Miami Herald reporter named Theo Karantsalis, entered the Coconut Grove Metrorail Station from inside after taking the train from up north.
The 50 State security guard immediately told he would not be allowed to take photos nor report on a story from inside the station.
Then Commander Al Pascuito arrived on the scene, who has proven to be the most courteous, professional and understanding of all the 50 State security guards I have dealt with since we were “permanently banned” for taking photos back in July, and informed Karantsalis that he would be allowed to take photos.
Pascuito also informed us that 50 State is in the process of distributing copies of Miami-Dade County Code 30B-5 (2), which states that non-commercial photography is allowed in the stations, to each and every one of its guards.
The guards are being asked to review the code and sign a document stating they have read and understood the county code.
In fact, they even had a laminated copy of the law at the Coconut Grove station as you can see in the photo below.
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. “
ABC Nightline, which was in town to interview me last week, also attended the outing and may feature it in an upcoming segment on photographers rights within the next few weeks.
To read all the background on our history with the Metrorail security guards, click here.