Monthly archives: September 2012

September 29th, 2012

TSA Confiscates Camera from man Recording Checkpoint 0

By Carlos Miller

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UPDATE: TSA says it was not involved in this incident.

TSA screeners confiscated a man’s camera after he began video recording a checkpoint in Puerto Rico, deleting his footage before returning his camera.

The incident has sparked a debate on Flyer Talk as to what laws would actually apply in this case.

On one hand, there are no photo or video restrictions at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, as much as many screeners act otherwise.

But on the other hand, Puerto Rico has its own constitution and laws that might not always reflect those of the United States.

However, federal laws apply to Puerto Rico, according to Wikpedia.

The story initially came to my attention this week when I received an email from Photography is Not a Crime reader Tom McCormack inquiring how to recover deleted footage.

I sent him a link to PhotoRec, which is free software that I used to recover the footage deleted by the Miami-Dade Police Department during my last arrest in January.

He ended up recovering the footage and sent me a clip, which I posted below.

This is how he explained it in the email:

I was in the San Juan aiport at noon (Sept 24) heading for St. Kitts.

I videotaped (Canon Power Shot) the podium where they make you show the passport/boarding pass, as I approached and then the next area  with the X-ray scanners. It was busy. One TSA woman told me to stop from about 20 feet away. I didn’t.

They all seemed intrigued I wouldn’t follow their orders. A TSA guy soon approached me and said I had to stop. I kept the video going and said

“Sorry, it’s a Constitutional right.” He said “Okay” and walked back, a little indignant,  to the X ray area.

When I went through X rays they were waiting for me. Two uptight TSA ladies rolled up on a cart and approached me. I grabbed my camera and started rolling; I wanted to capture the conversation with them. 

One of them approached me and violently ripped the camera from my hands. I was shocked and told her to give it back and lunged for my camera. They took my camera and passport and boarding pass and ran off to some corner to confer with one another.

A police officer approached and asked where I was from. I said California. The conversation went like this:

Me:  “I’m from California. Why?”

Him: “Well, each State has its own rules.”

Me: “But this is TSA. A Federal agency. Therefore the State laws don’t apply. Besides, the First Amendment of the Constitution trumps state rules.”

Him: “This is an airport. You can’t just videotape people. You need permission.”

Me :  “Nonsense, this is a public arena. There is not permission required or any expectation of privacy here.” 

Him: “No, Puerto Rico is not like the States. There are local laws that have  nothing to do with the way they do things in the  States.”

Me:  ”Look, let’s just  agree to disagree. I don’t accept anything you say. I want my camera back. See stole it. I want her to give it back right now.”

Him:  “She didn’t steal it. She just confiscated it  because you violated the  rules.”

The TSA lady reappeared with my camera, passport, boarding pass.  I took it and started to walk away (pissed off) when I noticed the camera would not go on. I looked at the cartridge slot and it was gone. They had stolen it!

I showed the cop and said, “Look I want my cartridge (with 200 or so personal photos) back or I’ll call a lawyer and 911 to get more cops.

This is outrageous!”  He seemed to be aware I was getting upset and the TSA ladies scurried off with the cop and came back  2 minutes later with the cartridge.

“It must have fallen on the ground” said the cop.

Yeah, right. Predictably all the videos of them giving me a hard time were deleted. The whole episode lasted about 10 minutes.


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

CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.

My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.

So if you would like to contribute, please click on the “donate” button below and contribute whatever you can afford.

Facebook PINAC Page

You can keep up with my stories by friending me on Facebook or following me on Twitter and/or Google + or by liking the PINAC Facebook page.

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September 28th, 2012

Fullerton Police Ripped Film out of Woman's Camera After Kelly Thomas Beating Death 2

By Carlos Miller

A day after a third Fullerton cop was charged in the beating death of a mentally ill homeless man that was caught in a gruesome and horrifying city surveillance video, the victim’s father said there is more video that has yet to be released, specifically footage from cameras that were confiscated by police.

Ron Thomas, who has been relentless in seeking justice for his son, said there is one clip that shows police ripping the film out of a woman’s camera in the moments after the beating.

However, they are saving that evidence for the trial, which has not been scheduled yet.

Ron Thomas was speaking at the Covering Social Protest Movements in an age of Social Media journalism conference in Orange County, which runs until tomorrow.

The revelation was made after I asked him about the initial reports of the confiscated cameras during his talk.

I interviewed him on video after his talk but he did not want to elaborate anymore on that subject because of the pending trial.

In the above video, which I shot handheld with my Flip, he talks about his efforts in getting Joe Wolf indicted, even though prosecutors resisted at first.

Wolf was the first to strike Kelly with his baton, but it took more than a year after Jay Cicinelli and Manny Ramos were indicted before he was charged.

In the video, Ron Thomas also talks about how the mainstream media was initially reluctant to report on the story of the beating death and even refused to run the photo of his son’s battered face at first, but did so only did so after a local blog posted the photo.

Hearing Ron Thomas speak has been the highlight of this workshop so far considering I’ve been following from the beginning.

Also attending the conference is Julie Dermansky, a New Orleans photojournalist and avid PINAC reader, whom I met in person for the first time.

Tomorrow, several of us will be meeting at the following pub in Santa Ana at 5 p.m., so if you live in the area, come join us. Feel free to email me at the address below to touch base.

The Olde Ship Pub and Restaurant

1120 W. 17th St.

Santa Ana, California.


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

CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.

My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.

So if you would like to contribute, please click on the “donate” button below and contribute whatever you can afford.

Facebook PINAC Page

You can keep up with my stories by friending me on Facebook or following me on Twitter and/or Google + or by liking the PINAC Facebook page.

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September 28th, 2012

New Jersey Cop Caught on Video Threatening to Steal Teen's Camera 0

By Carlos Miller

A New Jersey cop who did not appreciate being video recorded by a 15-year-old boy threatened to steal the teen’s camera forever.

“Turn that video camera off right now or it’s going to be mine forever,” the Hanover Township police officer said, obviously knowing he was being recorded, but dumb enough not to care.

The cop is not named in the ABC Local story but I’ve contacted the teen through Facebook in the hopes of obtaining it.

After all, a cop that stupid needs to be exposed.

As it is now, the cop is being sued for the incident that took place several months ago.

It started when Austin DeCaro and friends were hanging out with friends in a public park after dark, which was against a municipal ordinance.

According to ABC Local:

They say they had no idea there was a park curfew, a black car drove up, and a cop in plainclothes confronted them.

“I gave him my name and he realized I had a camera and he said, ‘turn that off.’” DeCaro said.

“Turn that video camera off right now or it’s going to be mine, forever,” the officer said on the video.

“Why?” DeCaro is heard asking.

“And I asked why, and he tackled me to the ground, handcuffed me, threw my camera, and arrested me,” DeCaro said.

The camera, down on the ground, still recorded the sound.

“Why are you being so mean?” DeCaro is heard saying on the video.

The cop was going to charge the teens with vandalism, obstruction and being in the park after dark.

But DeCaro’s father showed the video to Hanover Township Police Chief Stephen Gallagher, who reduced the charges to breaking curfew in the park.

He should have dropped the charges entirely out of consideration for the bullying officer on his staff.

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He can be reached at (973) 428-2512 if you would like to urge him to do so.

UPDATE: The cop’s name is most likely Joseph Quinn, according to Justia.com.

If anybody has a subscription to PACER, please provide us a copy of the suit.

Here is a LinkedIn page from a Joe Quinn who is also a cop in the same town.

UPDATE II: Here is a copy of the lawsuit.


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

CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.

My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.

So if you would like to contribute, please click on the “donate” button below and contribute whatever you can afford.

Facebook PINAC Page

You can keep up with my stories by friending me on Facebook or following me on Twitter and/or Google + or by liking the PINAC Facebook page.

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September 27th, 2012

Spending the Weekend in Orange County for a Workshop if you Want to Meet up Saturday 0

By Carlos Miller

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Pixiq extended my contract slightly to allow them to move the comments and usernames over to the new blog, so I’m happy to say we’re ending this relationship on a positive note.

September 29 will mark exactly two years I’ve been with Pixiq, so I will probably complete the two-year anniversary, but I still haven’t received any official word as to when is my final date.

Meanwhile, the new design is coming along very nicely. You guys are going to be impressed.

I didn’t like any of the Wordpress themes, so I drew up what I was looking for and sent it to the designer at Splotches, who is based in Europe, and he took what I gave him and added his own creative touch to it.

So right now, it’s looking better than I even imagined.

I’m currently in Orange County for a journalism workshop titled Covering Social Protest Movements in the Age of Social Media at the University of California Fullerton to which I was invited.

 The workshop was prompted by how quickly the news of the Kelly Thomas beating death video spread on the internet after it was released, putting the mainstream media “in the embarrassing position of being behind what turned into a national story about the police killing of a homeless schizophrenic man.”

On Saturday night, I plan to meet a few PINAC readers at a pub in Santa Ana, so if you live in the area, feel free to join us.

We’ll be at the Olde Ship  British Pub and Restaurant, 1120 W. 17th St., Santa Ana, California.

We plan to get there by 5 p.m., but will probably stay there a few hours. Send me a email to the address below if you want to touch base about that.



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

CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.

My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.

So if you would like to contribute, please click on the “donate” button below and contribute whatever you can afford.

Facebook PINAC Page

You can keep up with my stories by friending me on Facebook or following me on Twitter and/or Google + or by liking the PINAC Facebook page.

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September 26th, 2012

Palm Beach Prosecutors Refuse to Proceed in Wiretapping Case Against Former Deputy 0

By Carlos Miller

A former Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy who runs a website critical of his former employer was accused of illegal wiretapping after he uploaded a video that showed the sheriff in an unfavorable light.

Fortunately, the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office chose not to prosecute Mark Dougan, a longtime Photography is Not a Crime reader who runs PBSOTalk.com, avoiding a trial that it would have surely lost.

And even more fortunate, the state attorney’s office provided a detailed explanation as to why it would not prosecute Dougan, which should be read by every police officer in the state as well as every camera-toting citizen.

The video shows William Stewart, a supporter of Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, wearing a deputy’s insignia on his cap as he campaigned for the sheriff prior to the election last month, which is a violation of Florida statute 843.085 .

ricbradshaw.jpg

When Dougan confronted him about the cap, Stewart admitted he was not a deputy, but indicated that Bradshaw had given him permission to wear it.

A Palm Beach Gardens cop named Timothy Connors responded and determined that Stewart was not committing a crime, but told him to remove the cap anyway to appease Dougan, who went home and uploaded the video.

That was when Stewart contacted Connors again, saying he was “offended and embarrassed” by the video, according to the state attorney’s report.

And that was when Connors should have told him to just deal with it because Dougan had not committed a crime.

But Dougan is not just anybody.

According to the report, he is “a person well known in the police community as an anti- Bradshaw blogger and disgruntled former employee of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Ofiice. Dougan’s blog is known to be aggressively critical of the operations and management of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.”

In fact, Dougan’s site was inspired by PINAC, he confided in me a few months back, ever since I wrote about a deputy in 2009 whom he reported to internal affairs. Look for Dougan’s comment in the comments section.

Knowing that Dougan was a thorn in the side to Palm Beach law enforcement officers, as you can see in these stories, Connors decided to embarrass himself by seeking prosecution against him on wiretapping charges.

And like the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office has done in the past, it failed to prosecute because Stewart did not have an expectation of privacy.

The report cites case law, but here is the gist of the decision.

The recorded conversation between Dougan and Stewart occurred in a public polling place with others present. The conversation was not private and Dougan did not conceal the recording. Stewart cannot claim a reasonable expectation of privacy and therefore the criminal statute does not apply to Dougan’s actions which Stewart found improper.

The case will not be filed.


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

CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.

My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.

So if you would like to contribute, please click on the “donate” button below and contribute whatever you can afford.

Facebook PINAC Page

You can keep up with my stories by friending me on Facebook or following me on Twitter and/or Google + or by liking the PINAC Facebook page.

cloudfront image

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