The Miami-Dade Police Department went all out in evicting the Occupy Miami activists from their encampment on Government Center last month, dishing out more than $13,000 in overtime to its officers for less than eight hours of actual work.
The end result was a single arrest; that of a pesky videographer who insisted on recording the cops until the very end of their operation.
Yes, you know who I’m talking about.
The figure was obtained by Robert Chandler, a public records activist who runs Raw Dash Cam and is helping me in this case. He also obtained the video footage shot by police that night, which included my arrest.
Although there were five others arrested with me that night, they were arrested by City of Miami police, who assisted with the eviction. Their charges have all been dropped, leaving me the only one with a confirmed trial date on March 28.
The City of Miami has most likely also accrued thousands of dollars in overtime for the eviction.
The $13,081.48 in overtime went to three bureaus who participated in the eviction, the Special Patrol Bureau, which includes the Rapid Deployment Team (which has its own promotional video on Facebook), the Homeland Security Bureau (whom I dealt with during one of my Metrorail escapades) and the Public Education and Information Bureau (which is mostly responsible for providing information to the media but was responsible for arresting me that night).
Whether the money was well spent depends on the taxpayers who will foot the bill.
Then again, it might ultimately be a drop in the bucket compared to what taxpayers might ultimately dish out after my civil lawsuit for destroying evidence (which I managed to recover) is filed.
Or it might not considering punitive damages can be highly unpredictable.
And let’s face it, if I was in it for the money I would have filed suits after my first two arrests.
No, I’m in it for the justice, to send a message, to make sure they never even think about deleting footage again from another photographer.
Miami Beach police deleted photos from camera in my second arrest, which I easily recovered but didn’t push the issue as much as I probably should have.
But those were just still images, which didn’t reveal much about my arrest even after I recovered them.
This time, the five-minute clip deleted by Miami-Dade police reveals a whole lot about my arrest, mostly that I was singled out among several other journalists by a public information officer and that I did not resist arrest.
Miami-Dade Major Nancy Perez already had an issue with me as can be seen in the 78-minute video (posted below) obtained by Chandler that shows her pushing me off a sidewalk at the 1:00:36 mark after I asked another officer if I could stand on the sidewalk.
Although police ensure the 78-minute video compilation of clips is all the footage they shot that night, I’m not exactly sold because the video cuts out too quickly from my arrest to the officers marching away from the area.
It would make logical sense – for their own protection and evidence – that the videographer would have continued shooting until I was fully in custody.
But, of course, that clip might also have revealed Perez ordering the deletion of my footage.
After all, if they deleted my footage, what is to stop them from deleting or withholding a key piece of evidence from their own footage?
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