UPDATE: I’ve since recovered the full video that was deleted. Check it out here.
It took several days but I managed to recover the footage that was deleted by police on the night of my arrest, which is the first step in not only clearing my name, but in exposing how police media spokeswoman Nancy Perez singled me out from the rest of the media.
It’s too bad because for the most part, both City of Miami police and Miami-Dade police were extremely professional and restrained that night as I pointed out in this Miami New Times article on my arrest.
They did arrest a couple of guys for dancing in the street and charged them with felony inciting a riot – charges that will no doubt be dismissed – but compared to what we’ve seen out of Oakland, Los Angeles and New York City, they deserve to be commended.
However, Perez, who is a high-ranking major, committed a major blunder when she stopped me on the sidewalk and had me arrested after letting several other journalists walk past her.
The recovered video is not perfectly in sequence. I will eventually recover the entire deleted video.
Even though there are some missing frames, it’s enough to show what happened in the moments leading up to my arrest.
It shows that police had already fallen out of their military formation, which they had been in all night as they dispersed the activists. The operation was pretty much over.
AT :23 seconds into the video, you will seen a group of Miami-Dade cops walking past me, ensuring that all the activists had been dispersed. None appeared concerned with presence.
At :37 seconds into the video, you will see a television cameraman dressed in blue standing on the sidewalk. I believe he is the one who recorded my arrest. I need to figure out who he works for because I have not seen that footage.
At :39, you will see a television cameraman in white shorts and blue shirt stepping up on the sidewalk after having recorded a close-up of the cops marching back.
At :43, you will see Miami Herald reporter Glenn Garvin in a white beard and glasses talking on the phone as he walks toward me on the sidewalk. He also witnessed my arrest, but did not know my name. He mentioned it in the fifth paragraph of this story.
At :47, you will see Perez who had just allowed the above-mentioned videographer in white shorts walk past her without stopping him. You will also see two more television news videographers behind her.
At :51, you will also see another television news videographer crouching down behind her video recording the marching cops from a low angle.
At :51, you will also see her step in front of me to detain me.
I explained to her that I was walking back to my car.
She said, “No, it doesn’t work that way,” and began calling other officers to have me arrested.
As the other cops are frisking me and pulling off my cameras, she explains that I was given a dispersal order, which I had refused.
But obviously this dispersal order did not affect the other journalists, who apparently were embedded with the cops.
At 1:13, she tells me “we don’t want to have to hurt you,” even though I am showing no signs of resisting, revealing a sadistic streak within her.
I say, “I am not resisting, you don’t have to be so hard,” because they were tearing the cameras off me and ramming their hands down my pants and into my pockets.
And she makes some crack about “a woman being hard on you.”
At 1:26, you will see a Miami police officer dressed in blue video recording the entire arrest.
They are pulling the strap hard against my neck, so I tell them they don’t have to choke me, that they can do all this a little easier.
At 1:39, you can see my right hand extended at my side, showing no signs of aggression or resistance.
At 1:40, I point out to the arresting officers and the officer with the camera that “I am being cooperative” because I really feared they would use any excuse to beat me into submission.
Where do I go from here
So now the next step is taking my camera to a professional recovery service with a forensics specialists who will not only retrieve the entire deleted footage without interruptions, but would also determine the exact time the footage was deleted
That will determined that the footage was deleted while I was in custody and the camera was in their possession, leaving them no defense for blatantly violating my Constitutional rights.
I also plan on obtaining the footage recorded by the Miami police officer as well as the footage recorded by the television news cameraman.
And, of course, I plan on filing an internal affairs complaint against Perez as well as a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice for deleting my footage.
It was less than a month ago that the U.S. Department of Justice wrote a “statement of interest” to a judge overseeing a similar case, stating the following:
“The right to record police officers while performing duties in a public place as well as the right to be protected from the warrantless seizure and destruction of those recordings, are not only required by the Constitution,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in a “statement of interest” filed Jan. 10 in the case.
“They are consistent with our fundamental notions of liberty, promote the accountability of our governmental officers, and instill public confidence in the police officers who serve us daily.”
But first I must clear myself of the resisting arrest charge, which shouldn’t be a problem, especially now that the video has been recovered.
Joining me in this legal fight is my attorney Arnold Trevilla, who’s been with me from the beginning and has proven to be a master trial lawyer.
But there are several Constitutional and media lawyers interested in this case as well – not to mention legal advisers from other states – so I might end up with a team of legal superstars.
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