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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Public Records Activists Squeezing Info From MDPD Regarding My Arrest

When it comes to obtaining public records, nobody does it better than Joel and Robert Chandler.

Based out of Central Florida, the Chandler brothers have proven to be a thorn in the side of government agencies that refuse to provide public records.

Joel, who has been mentioned in countless news articles for his work, runs Fog Watch. Robert runs Raw Dash Cam. They drove down to Miami for my Metrorail photo protest in 2010.

That is why I’m very fortunate to have them on my side demanding public records from the Miami-Dade Police Department regarding my arrest.

At first, Miami-Dade police brushed them off as they normally do to pesky citizens asking questions. Just take a look at the “arrest report” they provided the Chandlers.

But the Chandlers live for that type of response because it just gives them an excuse to sue the agencies. It didn’t have to get that far with Miami-Dade police because it quickly realized it was dealing with professionals. Email exchanges between Robert Chandler and Miami-Dade police are below.

So far, the Chandlers have obtained 78 minutes of video footage shot by police the night of my arrest, posted below, as well as Major Nancy Perez’s employee log, which highlights her disciplinary record.

Robert Chandler edited down a version that shows only my arrest, which is posted above. Even though it is clear I am not resisting, Perez tells me “we don’t want to have to hurt you” in a very condescending manner.

At 1:00:39 into the raw video, Perez can be seen pushing me from the sidewalk into the street as I was questioning why they were telling me I was not allowed to stand on the sidewalk.

I will be filing an internal affairs complaint against Perez, not that I think will do any good, but it will please me to blemish the almost four years she has gone without an internal affairs complaint against her.

But first I will face off with her in court as she tries to explain to a jury how she singled me out from the other reporters because I was not one of her embedded journalists who were given little police helmets to wear during the eviction (watch the last few minutes of the raw clip below).

The videographer from Telemundo who video recorded my arrest never responded to a message I sent him, so I will contact the news director and if we have to, we will file a subpoena to obtain that footage.

It is obvious after the Miami Herald piece on my arrest that the local mainstream media is not on my side.

But that just makes this whole debacle that much more challenging.

Now for the email exchange.

Mr. Loftus,

Some months back you had me communicate with Adreann White concerning public records request.  Please see the email thread below along with the attached file. Mrs. White claims that this document was responsive to my request for an "arrest report."  I am sure that in your many years of faithful service, you have seen countless arrest reports.  Would you agree that this is not one?  From my limited encounters with arrest reports, they seem to contain information such as the charge, statutes, arresting officer, etc.  This has none of those.  My experience with obtaining non-exempt public records from your agency is straining my patience and grace.  I have litigated on multiple occasions (and won every time) in order to obtain public records.  I am genuinely after these records, as well as more requests to follow, and would like to have a cooperative and collegial relationship with your agency.  I am confident that your legal counsel will tell you that even if you produced the requested arrest report today, I have still been denied access and can seek a judicial finding of fact (see Grapski v City of Alachua).  I am extending an olive branch, please reply immediately with the requested records.  Just so there is no more confusion, from now on I will make all requests directly to you.

Warmest Regards,                                                                                                       Robert Chandler

***

Good afternoon Mr. Chandler,

Thank you for your correspondence and for your desire to have a cooperative and collegial relationship with our Department. I am sure we can address your concerns and resolve any pending issues.

I will follow-up with our Professional Compliance Bureau tomorrow to address your concerns. I have a meeting which will probably take up most of the morning but will get back to you tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, would you please provide a little more detail regarding Carlos Miller such as date of birth and race information? That would narrow the results when we search our database. Also, I would appreciate if you would direct any questions and/or correspondence to me. If you would prefer to call, my direct line is 305-471-3591.

-Bill                                                                                                                            William Lyons,                                                                                                         Police Legal Advisor 2                                                                                         Police Legal Bureau                                                                                             Miami-Dade Police Department 

 

***                                                                                 

Mr. Lyons,

Mrs. Robin Baker was kind enough to find the arrest report I requested and is mailing it to me.  She has been pleasant to deal with in resolving this situation.   On the other hand, Mrs. White does not like to respond to emails or return calls, so all further communication regarding my public records request will be done through Mr. Loftus or yourself if you wish to handle all further public records requests I make on behalf of the MDPD.  I wish to avoid any further issues.

Please find my next public records request below.

Pursuant to F.S. 119, provide the following records in electronic format if they exist in that form.  If the cost of production is expected to exceed $1.00, provide a written estimate prior to production.  Please cite all statutory exemptions for all withholdings and/or redactions.

(1)  All documents that indicate or tend to indicate the purchase, maintenance, use, etc. of all handheld video cameras. Please include all equipment sign out logs.

(2)  All video that was taken on all handheld video cameras on January 31, 2012.

(3)  The staff roster of the Rapid Deployment Force that was activated on January 31, 2012.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Best Regards,

Robert Chandler

***

Good afternoon Mr. Chandler,

I am glad the arrest report you requested is on its way to you. Are there any other pending issues regarding your original public records request of February 06, 2012 (below)?

With regard to your request immediately below (2/16), would you please be more specific as to item 1? I would imagine that we probably started purchasing hand-held video cameras at least 25 years ago. Also, we have a number of elements in our Department that may have used them and/or are using them over the years. Are you just interested in the video cameras that were used on January 31, 2012? If so, I think we could expedite this if we limit the scope of your request to those particular cameras.

And yes, I would appreciate if you would direct any questions and/or correspondence to me regarding any public records requests. There is no a need to copy Director Loftus on any future messages. We do like to stay within our chain-of-command here in the police department. I copied my supervisor above and she reports to Director Loftus. Again, if you would prefer to call, my direct line is 305-471-3591.

 Thank you.

-Bill                                                                                                                            William Lyons,                                                                                                         Police Legal Advisor 2                                                                                         Police Legal Bureau                                                                                             Miami-Dade Police Department  

***

Mr. Lyons,

I will let you know if the records that are on their way to me are satisfactory to my request as soon as I receive them.

Can I please have all video recordings that were taken at the occupy Miami location on January 31, 2012.  Please provide the names of all officers that used the video cameras that date. Please provide the video sign ou log for January 31, 2012.

There is a video a journalist took of the protest that shows one of your officers video recording arrests that day.  The records I am after are essentially those videos and the officers names that were using them.  You can find the video at www.carlosmiller.com. Thank you for your assistance.

Best Regards,

Robert Chandler

The Chandlers are demanding more public records that might reveal more insight into the night of my arrest, including further evidence that they deleted my footage.I won’t reveal details yet but these guys definitely think outside the box.

Stay tuned.

 


 

Please send stories, tips and videos to carlosmiller@magiccitymedia.com.

Also, if you would like to contribute to my Legal Defense Fund, please buy a photographers' rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag. Please write "carlos3" in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.

Or you can just donate to my Legal Defense Fund by clicking on the button below.

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Videos Of My Speech At NH Liberty Forum And Near-Arrest At NH Courthouse

If you have an hour to kill and don't mind spending it hearing me talking about photography rights, you might want to check out my talk at the 2012 New Hampshire Liberty Forum, which was just posted online.

I talk about my experiences running Photography is Not a Crime, including what motivated me to launch it.

The trip was a great experience, especially when I visited Keene Monday morning with some of the activists who had been banned from the Cheshire County Courthouse because they used cameras inside the building.

There is no state law that bans video recording inside courthouses. In fact, cameras are allowed inside courtrooms for journalistic purposes if the videographer goes through the proper channels to obtain permission.

The court order banning cameras insides courthouses in Cheshire County was introduced three days after Adam "Ademo Freeman" Mueller was arrested for threatening a judge when the video shows all he was doing was asking the judge some questions about a recent decision where he jailed another activist for wearing a hat inside the courtroom.

Whether you agree with Mueller's style of activism or not, the video shows that he never threatened Judge Edward Burke, which means that Burke ordered a false arrest.

I was threatened with arrest for recording inside the courthouse Monday, even though I had not even stepped through the metal detector, meaning cameras are considered more dangerous than guns inside the Cheshire County Courthouse.

Three activists were arrested for trespassing, including one who never even set foot on courthouse property.

The Glik vs. Boston court decision was brought up just as it was when Bradley Jardis and Adam Kokesh brought it up when they were told they were not allowed to record in the lobby of a police department.

The cops initially refused to believe the decision gave them that right but after researching it on their own, and most likely consulting with attorneys, they stepped back into the lobby and acknolwedged the decision did allow them to record.

So why should it be any different in the lobby of a courthouse?


Please send stories, tips and videos to carlosmiller@magiccitymedia.com.

Also, if you would like to contribute to my Legal Defense Fund, please buy a photographers' rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag. Please write "carlos3" in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.

Or you can just donate to my Legal Defense Fund by clicking on the button below.

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Enjoying My Time At The New Hampshire Liberty Forum

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I've spent the last few days at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum where I spoke in front of a room full of people Saturday.

Several people were recording the talk, including a group working on a documentary movie about activists who promised to send me the video of me, which I will eventually post here for those that are interested.

I was also interviewed in person on Free Talk Radio, a first for me, even though I've been interviewed in the past by them through phone.

My first caller turned out to be Jimmy Justice, a man who's not only been featured on Photography is Not a Crime but on The Colbert Report as well as you can see in the video below.

You can listen to my radio segment here. I come after the two minute mark in the clip.

I also got to listen to a heartfelt talk by Jodie Emory, wife of Marc Emory, who is serving a five-year prison sentence for importing marijuana seeds into the United States. I wish we would legalize it already.

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Now my plan is to ask Judge Burke from Keene some questions on video Monday for a story I'm working on.

Burke, who has a long history with some of these activists, had Adam "Ademo Freeman" Mueller jailed on charges of threatening a public official last year for asking non-threatening questions on video.

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That led to a whole cascade of events where Jason Talley of Talley.TV was arrested after attempting to walk into a courthouse with a camera.

Former cop turned activist Bradly Jardis will be with me Monday morning as well as several other activists.

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I'll be writing more about that this week once I get the video of Burke.

Jardis was also interviewed by Free Talk Live in the above clip. He comes in after the second guest.

I've had a great time here. Met many people I've written about.

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S.C. Sheriff's Dept. Attempts To Intimidate Animal Rights Group From Video Recording

Animal rights activist Steve Hindi - who has been threatened, assaulted and arrested over the years for video recording perceived animal rights abusers in Pennsylvania - ventured down to South Carolina where he received a taste of Southern Hospitality from the local sheriff’s office.

Hindi and his film crew, collectively known as Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), were parked alongside a public road outside the entrance to the Broxton Bridge Plantation where they were going to conduct a live pigeon shoot.

A Colleton County Sheriff's Lt. whose name sounds like it may be W.G. Polk first told them they could record all they want but he insisted on seeing their identifications.

The lieutenant insisted South Carolina law required them to provide identification, even if they were not suspected of committing a crime. However, South Carolina is not listed among the “stop and identify” states.

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Hindi and his crew finally gave in and handed over their identifications. The lieutenant then walked over and showed them to the attorney for the Broxton Bridge Plantation.

He then came back with a list of alleged violations Hindi was committing for being parked along side of the road.

Hindi was smart enough to call him on his bullshit but wasn’t able to wipe the annoying smirk off the lieutenant’s face.

However, Hindi said they were able to stay at their current location.


Please send stories, tips and videos to carlosmiller@magiccitymedia.com.

Also, if you would like to contribute to my Legal Defense Fund, please buy a photographers' rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag. Please write "carlos3" in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.

Or you can just donate to my Legal Defense Fund by clicking on the button below.

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Pennsylvania Photographer Nearly Gets Arrested For Photographing From Bridge

Pennsylvania photographer Jason Macchioni was taking photographs from a bridge in Elizabethtown the other night for a time-lapsed video, which naturally got the cops thinking he would then try to blow up the bridge or something.

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One cop, Northwest Regional Police Officer Charles Tobias, pulled up and demanded to know what he was doing, not seeming to understand the terms “time sequence.”

Tobias then began demanding Macchioni’s identification, which he refused to hand over because he was not committing a crime.

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Then another Northwest Regional cop named Harry Cleland pulled up, noticed Macchioni was video recording them, so he started threatening to arrest him on wiretapping charges.

The idiot cop apparently is unaware of that provision in the law that says he can be recorded if he doesn’t have an expectation of privacy.

Macchioni turned the camera off rather than spend the night in jail even though he was right.

But now he has gotten the ACLU involved who have filed a complaint with the department.

This is how he explains it on Youtube:

I was shooting a time-lapse which I'm still working on, I arrived at this site around 9 and was there for about 3 hours until these two cops rolled up! At first I was calm and refused to give ID, After the second cop was breathing down my neck and really threatening me. I gave in and tried to get them to leave. Then stuff got heated.

The first officer (Charles Tobias) was nice but just couldn't grasp what I was doing after 4 explanations, He started to become angry when backup arrived, I guess so his fellow cop knew he was tough and could handle me? I gave him my ID even though I knew I didn't have to, to try to make them leave asap, After the second cop (Cleland) notice I was recording become very upset, I guess he doesn't like evidence when he breaks laws and infringes on a citizens rights. He also told me his dash cam and microphone was NOT on. Which I think you must have that on a call like this?

Officer (Harry Cleland) starting saying off camera that "if he wanted to hurt me he would have just came up and did it and stomped my phone and beat me up if he wanted too". I told the officers I wanted to record to protect my self cause a lot of people being "mistreated" by the police. The officer (Celand) said well that's mostly the "blacks" fault, People getting beat up.

He does not know Pa Wiretapping laws at all and my right to record! I have run into this cop before, I was shooting a car accident and this cop said 'If you don't leave, I'm going to confiscate your camera". So now I know he has a record of violating citizens rights!

After the video stops, He (Cleland) went on a rant about people recording cops and thinking "they" know the law and about him thinking "black people are the problem, cause of drugs and crime". They left I took a breath and checked my phone, My heart sank further knowing it didn't catch-all of it. It did catch one thing, Him (Cleland) threatening to arrest me for recording him. Which is against the law, harry cleland

These Cops need to learn the law when it comes to photographers, and I can't wait for my public apology.

Both Officers are from Northwest Regional Police Dept. Their website can be found here if you would like to send them some emails! http://northwestregionalpolice.org/Officers.htm


Please send stories, tips and videos to carlosmiller@magiccitymedia.com.

Also, if you would like to contribute to my Legal Defense Fund, please buy a photographers' rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag. Please write "carlos3" in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.

Or you can just donate to my Legal Defense Fund by clicking on the button below.

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Was The Miami Herald Biased In Their Article About Me?

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For more than a week, Miami Herald reporter Paradise Afshar worked on the story about my arrest covering the Occupy Miami eviction.

Yet she still failed to provide the answers to some very basic questions, specifically the outcome of my previous arrests.

It’s not like I didn’t tell her the outcome of those arrests.

I went into great detail, explaining how I was acquitted of all charges except resisting arrest after my 2007 arrest, then had that conviction overturned after I appealed it pro se.

I explained to her that the state attorney’s office then dismissed the charge instead of refiling the charge.

I also explained that I was acquitted in my 2009 arrest when the cop failed to show up to court on two occasions. I also told her that even though I was initially charged with disorder intoxication, the state attorney's office switched it to resisting arrest because they had no evidence that I was drunk.

Despite all this, Afshar wrote “the outcome of all these cases is unknown.”

She also mentioned a 1989 arrest when I was jailed for disturbing the peace on the Fourth of July. I was drunk. I was wild. I was 20 years old. I think I paid a fine.

I don’t have an issue with her mentioning that arrest, even though it is ancient history. It is public record, after all. But so are the outcomes of all those arrests.

While she didn’t make a great effort to inform her readers of the outcome of those arrests, she did obtain video shot by Miami-Dade police that show me questioning police who are telling me I can’t stand on a public sidewalk.

And she also obtained the video shot by police during my arrest, which shows I was not resisting, even though I was charged with resisting arrest.

The article has also drawn a fair share of commenters stating I deserved to be arrested.

I've been getting several calls and messages from friends saying Afshar was biased in her reporting.

What do you think?


Please send stories, tips and videos to carlosmiller@magiccitymedia.com.

Also, if you would like to contribute to my Legal Defense Fund, please buy a photographers' rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag. Please write "carlos3" in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.

Or you can just donate to my Legal Defense Fund by clicking on the button below.

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At Least One TSA Screener Knows Photo Policy At Checkpoints

Unlike the last time when I left the TSA photo policy sitting in my printer before leaving to the airport, I made sure to print out 30 copies in case I had to hand them out to several Transportation Security Administration officials at Miami International Airport as I prepared to board a plane to Boston this morning.

It turned out, I didn't even have to pull one out because the first TSA screener who approached me knew the policy.

He never did tell me that I was not allowed to record as they have in the past. He just politely asked me what I was shooting for and I told him I was shooting for Photography is Not a Crime.

I also explained that I was doing it for the sole purpose of seeing if they know their own policy. He said he did and I didn't have any problems after that, even though a few TSA screeners glared at me.

The screener's name was Jose and he was a little camera shy, which is a shame because I would have loved to get an on camera interview with him. But I didn't press the issue because he had already respected my right to shoot, so I was respecting his wish not to be on camera, even though he does come out in the video.

If he had ordered me to turn off the camera, you better believe I would have not stopped recording him.

I was using the Flip Mino, which is just too small to keep a steady shot when you're holding it with one hand while pulling a camera bag with your other hand through a bustling TSA line. I love the compact size of the camera but it's just not feasible for these situations.

At first, it appeared as if they were going to herd me through the radiation body scanner, which I had planned to opt out of to see how they would react to me video recording my own pat-down, but at the last second, they diverted me to the regular metal detector.

Once on the other side, Jose came up and started talking to me as I was putting my shoes back on and he was a real nice guy.

He was 28 years old and had been working for TSA for five years. And he said it might not be the most exciting job, but he is grateful to have it because it allows him to support his wife and three kids.

He had a very realistic approach to his job, which was simply to do his job and not create laws and act like a cop as we've seen so many of them do.

He said every once in a while somebody walks through with a camera to test the system out, but most of the time, they act like complete assholes. He respected the fact that I remained professional.

He also said that he purposely approached me before I stepped up to the TSA screener who was checking boarding passes because he figured that guy would have made an issue about the camera.

He said that once the others saw me talking to him in a professional, friendly manner, they knew it was under control, even if I was continuing to record. So I'm sure they learned something new this morning.

I told him I was flabbergasted that the TSA supervisor in Washington DC, not far from the actual TSA headquarters, had no clue about the photo policy and even went as far as calling the cops on me when I continued to record.

And there was that time that another TSA supervisor at Miami International Airport did not know the law until I showed it to him.

And he said, "Not everybody with knowledge is in power."

And I guess that's the same everywhere.

We shook hands and I gave him my card before walking to my flight. That's never happened before.

He deserves a promotion not only because he knew the policy but because he has excellent people skills.


Please send stories, tips and videos to carlosmiller@magiccitymedia.com.

Also, if you would like to contribute to my Legal Defense Fund, please buy a photographers' rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag. Please write "carlos3" in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.

Or you can just donate to my Legal Defense Fund by clicking on the button below.

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These Photographer Rights Lens Cloths Will Help Raise Money For My Legal Fees

As I prepare my legal battle against the Miami-Dade Police Department for falsely arresting me and for deleting my footage, I am seeking new ways to raise money for my legal defense fund.

I recently entered into a business venture with Keith Robertson, a Vancouver man who runs Zap Rag, a company that sells lens cloths and laminated cards with photo laws printed on them.

The items are designed to be used by photographers when they get harassed by cops or security guards for shooting in public.

I will begin placing a link to Zap Rag on the tag line of my articles. If you purchase the lens cloth or the card or both, Keith will send me a portion of the sale to my legal defense fund.

All you have to do is place the term “carlos3” in the section of the Paypal transaction that states, "Add special instructions to the seller."

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I will also begin giving some of these items away on Twitter, Facebook and Google + through some type of contest.

If you want to make a straight-up donation to my legal defense fund, please submit what you can through my Paypal account by clicking on the donate button in the tagline below.

I first have to get past my criminal case, which should be a breeze compared to my first two arrests because of the recovered video.

But we plan to depose as many cops who witnessed my arrest that the judge allows in order to get to the bottom of who deleted the footage.

Then once I get past that case, I plan to file a civil suit against the police department for violating my Fourth Amendment rights in destroying my property as well as destroying evidence to the crime for which I was accused.

Unfortunately, this is a trend that is happening all too often in this country. In fact, the Miami Beach police officers who arrested me in 2009 did the same thing to my still photos, which I recovered.

But video evidence is much more damning than photo evidence Especially since police deleted an entire five-minute clip with more than three minutes leading up to my arrest.

I will maintain a link to Zap Rag  as well as the donate button in my tagline in all future articles.


Please send stories, tips and videos to carlosmiller@magiccitymedia.com.

Also, if you would like to contribute to my Legal Defense Fund, please buy a photographer rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag. Please write "carlos3" in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.

Or you can just donate to my Legal Defense Fund by clicking on the button below.

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Oakland Cops Failing To Activate Body-Mounted Cameras During Protests

Relations between Oakland police and the city’s residents have never been good, which is one reason why the department issued body-mounted cameras to its officers last year.

The goal was to increase accountability, which is important for a department that is facing a federal takeover this March.

However, the above video, which shows several officers with their body-mounted cameras turned off – a departmental violation - is just the latest example of Oakland police officers not wanting any accountability.

The video is also a clear demonstration of just how high tensions are between Oakland police and citizens.

The video was produced by Jacob Crawford and journalist Ali Winston from footage obtained during the January 28th demonstration that included activists attempting to break into city hall.

“When the cameras are turned on, you see a green light,” said Crawford, a longtime Cop Watch activist whom I wrote about in 2010 after he was assaulted for attempting to video record a cop.

“When the cameras are turned off, they just look like a pager.”


Please send stories, tips and videos to carlosmiller@magiccitymedia.com

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Hilarious Spider Prank Turns Even Funnier When Victim Confronts Videographer

A hilarious spider prank on an unsuspecting man in what appears to be a univeristy got him all bent out of shape when he realized he was being video recorded.

Somebody from a higher level dangled a spider down in front of his face as he was sitting at a table, working on a computer, causing him to have a minor panic attack.

Most of us probably would have reacted the same way.

Well, most of us probably wouldn’t further embarrass ourselves by going after the videographer, ordering him to delete the shot.

The videographer walked away and posted it on Youtube yesterday where it now has more than 15,000 page views.

Luckily for the victim, they blurred his face.


Please send stories, tips and videos to carlosmiller@magiccitymedia.com

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