Monthly archives: November 2011

November 29th, 2011

DC Police Chief Apologizes To Videographer For Harassment And Threats 0

By Carlos Miller

Washington D.C. cops were more concerned with preventing a news videographer from recording the aftermath of a carjacking last week than they were in trying to find the suspect.

As a result, the carjacker is still at large.

But at least D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier apologized to photojournalist Alan Henney for the way her officers threatened him with arrest.

According to WTOP:

“There is no policy against videotaping in public space. This is a clear violation by our members and we will have it addressed – you have my apologies,” (Lanier) wrote in an email to Henney.

Lanier also wrote the department “will continue to work with our members to ensure they are clear about what is and is not permissible.”

Several times over the past year D.C. police have detained photographers and even confiscated a women’s cell phone and deleted all her video after she recorded police making an arrest.

D.C. Police policy on videotaping states (emphasis not added) “News media members may photograph or videotape police officers performing their official duties. Officers will not physically block or cover the lenses of cameras or video taping equipment. Members in accordance with General Order 204.1 will not assist nor hinder camerapersons at scenes. Members will not bring the media into private residences as part of a crime scene or police raid. COURTS HAVE RULED THAT MEMBERS MAY BE HELD LIABLE TO CIVIL SUIT FOR SUCH ACTIONS.”

November 29th, 2011

Iowa Man Convicted In Videotaping Case Needs To File Appeal 0

By Carlos Miller

An Iowa man who was video recording a traffic stop from his front yard was convicted of interfering with an investigation.

Justin Norman, 28, now faces up to 30 days in jail.

Hopefully, he’ll appeal the case because the above video shows he was hardly interfering.

Unfortunately, the Des Moines Register refused to post or link to the video in its story.

Norman was a passenger in Kirk Brown’s car when police pulled them over for having an open trunk in July.

The 12-minute video shows Brown having an attitude with the cops, aka contempt of cop, which probably led to the officers arresting Norman.

And it probably helped the prosecutor convince the jury that Norman was anti-cop and deserved to be arrested, even though from a legal standpoint, he was not breaking the law.

Iowa law defines interference as someone who “resists” or “obstructs” and makes it clear that this does not include “verbal harassment.”

719.1  Interference with official acts.

1.  A person who knowingly resists or obstructs anyone known by the person to be a peace officer, emergency medical care provider under chapter 147A, or fire fighter, whether paid or volunteer, in the performance of any act which is within the scope of the lawful duty or authority of that officer, emergency medical care provider under chapter 147A, or fire fighter, whether paid or volunteer, or who knowingly resists or obstructs the service or execution by any authorized person of any civil or criminal process or order of any court, commits a serious misdemeanor. However, if a person commits an interference with official acts, as defined in this subsection, and in so doing inflicts bodily injury other than serious injury, that person commits an aggravated misdemeanor. If a person commits an interference with official acts, as defined in this subsection, and in so doing inflicts or attempts to inflict serious injury, or displays a dangerous weapon, as defined in section 702.7, or is armed with a firearm, that person commits a class “D” felony.

2.  A person under the custody, control, or supervision of the department of corrections who knowingly resists, obstructs, or interferes with a correctional officer, agent, employee, or contractor, whether paid or volunteer, in the performance of the person’s official duties, commits a serious misdemeanor. If a person violates this subsection and in so doing commits an assault, as defined in section 708.1, the person commits an aggravated misdemeanor. If a person violates this subsection and in so doing inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily injury other than serious injury to another, displays a dangerous weapon, as defined in section 702.7, or is armed with a firearm, the person commits a class “D” felony. If a person violates this subsection and uses or attempts to use a dangerous weapon, as defined in section 702.7, or inflicts serious injury to another, the person commits a class “C” felony.

3.  The terms “resist” and “obstruct”, as used in this section, do not include verbal harassment unless the verbal harassment is accompanied by a present ability and apparent intention to execute a verbal threat physically.

This reminds me of my experience where a jury found me guilty of resisting arrest, even though the evidence did not support this.

I appealed my case and had the conviction reversed. Hopefully, Norman will do the same.

November 29th, 2011

South Florida Sun Sentinel Writer Puts The "Duh" In Journalism 0

By Carlos Miller

Barbara Hijek of the South Florida Sun Sentinel is just so sarcastic and cutting and biting as she writes mocking stories for her FloriDUH column highlighting the idiocy of the state.

She is also so smug and condescending and, well, stupid.

She recently wrote about a pair of men who were arrested after video recording cops. At least that is how the incident began.

The original story in the Treasure Coast Palm is so convoluted that it’s impossible to tell exactly what happened that night.

But Hijek determined that the men were arrested because they decided to “cop watch.”

And in Hijek’s sheltered world, that is just such a bizarre concept that she must refer to it in quotations.

Here’s how she wrote the story:

It’s called “Cop Watching,” where people tape police officers as they make stops and arrests.

And, unless you want to risk a trip to jail, it’s probably not a good idea to cop watch.

Nowhere in her article does she inform readers that video recording cops is legal.

Instead, she refers readers to another example where cops arrested a man for video recording them.

Here’s another example of cop-watchers transformed into inmates.

Tarpon Springs: Police arrest college student for ‘Cop Watching’

Thanks to Hijek, we should now refer to her paper as the South FloriDUH Sun Sentinel.

November 28th, 2011

Pennsylvania Cops Still Threatening Citizens With Wiretapping Charges 0

By Carlos Miller

Police in Pennsylvania are still clinging to the myth that it is a felony wiretapping crime to openly record them in public.

But Pennsylvania’s law is very clear that one must have an expection of privacy in order for there to be a wiretapping crime.

But this has not prevented cops from lying to citizens about the law.

Lehigh County Sheriff’s officials were apparently evicting a family from a home that had been forclosed.

The woman being evicted is named Patricia and talks about her situation in the bottom video.

November 28th, 2011

Senator Bill Nelson's Intern Threatens To Sue Me For Video Recording Him 0

By Carlos Miller

I was going to hold off in posting this until I edited the whole video and finished writing the story for Miami Beach 411, but Senator Bill Nelson’s intern is probably checking my site to see if he needs to proceed with his lawsuit.

He’s not really clear on what law I violated, but he’s pretty sure there’s one out there.

I had accompanied a group of Occupy Miami activists Monday to Nelson’s office because they were hoping to persuade the democratic senator to vote against the controversial Senate Bill 1867, which is being protested by the ACLU:

The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

Nelson wasn’t there, so we hung around inside his office for a few minutes in the hopes his employees would relay him the message.

The intern got a little agitated that I was recording, so he grabbed my arm. I pulled away and warned that I would call the cops if he continued. He tried grabbing my arm again, but I moved it so he wouldn’t touch the camera.

I’m not really one to call the cops on people, but I find threatening to call the cops on people is more effective than slapping their hand away. Maybe I’m mellowing in my older age.

Then we went to the office of Senator Marco Rubio, a republican, and I was ordered by his represenative to leave if I did not stop recording. The cops were already on hand waiting for us, so they told me to leave and I did.

They were cordial about it and even confirmed my right to video record in the hallway outside the office when a janitor told me I was not allowed.

And I really didn’t want to make this about me when it was really about the insane legislation that the senate is about to vote on.

The activists ended up sitting behind closed doors with the represenative and I could have joined them if it wasn’t for my crazy need to actually document the meeting.

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