Stretch Ledford, the Miami photojournalist who was with me during my first Metrorail run-in last year, was assaulted by a Miami police officer for shooting video this morning.
Ledford was videotaping a double-shooting investigation in Overtown, one of Miami’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods, when a female officer ordered him to walk away – despite the fact that he was standing outside the yellow crime tape they had up.
Officer J. Mayorga then reached for his camera and tried to pry it from his hands.
Ledford, who posted about the incident on his blog, yelled out “assault” so the other officers could hear.
Mayorga then backed off, but continued to order him away, accusing him of “interfering with the investigation.”
The altercation drew the attention of other officers, including a sergeant, who also tried to reach for Ledford’s camera, muttering something about her being undercover – although she was in full uniform.
The officers then expanded the perimeter with the crime tape, thus keeping Ledford well away from the actual crime scene.
Ledford then approached the sergeant to file a report, but she told him they were too busy tending to the double-shooting.
But apparently not busy enough to assault Ledford in the first place.
Ledford, who has been a professional photojournalist for decades, is now pursuing a masters degree at the University of Miami in multimedia journalism.
Documenting life in Overtown is part of an ongoing project he has been working on for his degree, which is why he moved there two months ago.
He is an excellent story-teller through his videos. Check them out here.
“This is the first time I ever felt threatened by anybody in Overtown,” said Ledford, who is white, of this predominantly black neighborhood.
The Miami Police Department has been under heavy criticism lately for killing seven black men in the last eight months on these same streets, including two who were unarmed.