January 25th, 2013

Metrorail Attack Reveals Much Work to be Done for Photographers' Rights 227

By Carlos Miller

It’s been five days since I was attacked by three armed security guards on the Miami-Dade Metrorail for taking pictures and the reactions from around the internet has been interesting to say the least.

I understand there will always be boot-licking pansies who will never understand why I would question a security guard over some made-up law about not being allowed to photograph the rails.

But it’s a little disappointing to see this attitude from photographers and railfans.

Don’t get me wrong. I am completely aware that I can come across abrasive, arrogant and condescending to authority figures who spout unlawful orders about photography in public places.

But the fact that they are using their authority in an attempt to intimidate me into following unlawful orders is not only more abrasive, arrogant and condescending. It’s downright abusive.

And I have a hard time tolerating that.

The main criticism against me is that I somehow “instigated” the incident. It’s true that there have been previous episodes where I deliberately tested officials on their knowledge of their own photo policies, including on the Miami-Dade Metrorail as well as at TSA checkpoints, but this was not one of those cases. I’m always upfront about my intentions in those videos, even to the authorities who confront us.

We were simply catching the train back to my place after hanging out with another friend in downtown Miami watching the football game. Not that it would have given them any more justification to attack me had I deliberately set out to test their knowledge.

I am also accused of being drunk. It’s true that I had been drinking but I was not drunk. The guard didn’t even question my sobriety until he got in my face and smelled my breath. And all it takes is a couple of drinks to make your breath smell like liquor to someone who has not been drinking.

A few people have also said I “sounded” drunk. That’s just how I talk. Anybody who knows me can confirm that.

The truth is, the guard realized I did not fall for his lie about it being illegal to photograph the rails, so he had to resort to another excuse to kick me out, which I thought was pretty obvious.

I am also criticized for getting physical with the guards. Yes, I did turn around and raise a fist towards them after they tried to push me down a moving escalator. It was a natural reaction and I won’t apologize for defending myself.

One thing I’ve learned about running this blog is to not to take any criticism  personal. Especially from anonymous commenters whom have never met me in person nor have spent any time getting to know me online and frankly wouldn’t have the balls to question authority.

So I’m not taking anything personal but I do find it troubling that so many photographers on PetaPixel and so many railfans on Subchat fail to see the real implications of what took place last Sunday night.

Even cops who saw the video believe the security guards were way out of line, not that they have much sympathy for me.

I edited a new video (below) that includes footage from both cameras, side-by-side, to allow people to get a fuller understanding of what took place. The audio is also clearer in certain portions of that video compared to the first one I posted.


I also compiled the following bullet points to make it easier for people to digest what took place that night, even though they will probably still defend the guards’ behavior.

  • We were taking photos from the platform.
  • We were confronted by security guards for taking photos.
  • We were told we were not allowed to take photos of the tracks.
  • I questioned which law forbids us from taking photos of the track.
  • I was ordered to turn off my video camera or else be kicked out.
  • I was then accused of being drunk and threatened with arrest if I did not leave the platform.
  • I stood my ground knowing I had not broken any law, knowing I was not drunk, waiting for the cops to arrive to hopefully sort everything out.
  • When I realized they were going to get physical, I asked my friend to start recording.
  • When I saw a third security guard walk up, I attempted to talk to him to hopefully sort it out.
  • The third guard along with the first two guards then began pushing me towards the escalator.
  • I began walking down the escalating, ordering them not to touch me because they do not have that right and there was no need to, considering I was already walking.
  • I was shoved from behind once I stepped on the moving escalator.
  • I turned around and attempted to shove them back because I felt the need to defend myself.
  • I was pounced upon by at least two security guards.
  • One of the security guards reached out and smacked my friend’s camera out of his hand as he was recording the altercation.
  • My friend managed to retrieve the camera and turn it back on.
  • At that point, I was at the foot of the escalator with one of the security guards gripping my neck in a tight chokehold with another security guard pushing down my head, making it even harder for me to breathe and the third security guard pulling at my feet.
  • The security guard who had me in a chokehold then threatened to arrest my friend for recording the altercation.
  • The security guard who was pulling at my feet then approached my friend and handcuffed him.
  • I was handcuffed.

To sum it up, I was attacked, choked, suffocated and handcuffed for taking photos, leaving me with enough injuries to visit the hospital the following day.

Although the X-rays revealed no broken bones I am still recovering from abrasions, swelling and soreness from the attack. An attack that would have landed anybody else in jail had they not been part of the system.

Had we not been taking photos, we never would have been approached.

Had I simply kissed ass and promised not to photograph the track, we would have been allowed to go home without further incident.

Had I turned off the video camera, we most likely would not have been further harassed. Or we may have. You never know.

I don’t trust these guards so I wasn’t about to turn the camera off when I know it’s the only thing that was protecting us from lies.

And contrary to what the guard was saying, it is not illegal to operate cameras on the Metrorail. The only exception is when one is conducting commercial photography, which which could be an advertising photo shoot or a movie scene. Then a permit must be obtained from the county.

Below is Miami-Dade County Code 30B-5 (2) which states the following:

And below is Miami-Dade County Ordinance Sec. 2-11.14 (2) (iii), which further clarifies the law on using cameras on the Metrorail.

There is nothing in writing that forbids passengers from photographing the rails. In fact, the rails are prominently displayed at the top of the Miami-Dade Metrorail’s own web page as you can see below in Bill Cooke’s Photoshopped version (the header is not Photoshopped). Read his blog post here on the incident.

Sunday’s attack against me was the fourth time since 2010 that I’ve had a run-in with 50 State security guards for using cameras near or inside the stations. I’ve even organized protests where I showed up with a group of photographers to drive it through their heads that they have no right to harass citizens with cameras.

And that resulted in a memo supposedly being sent out to security guards informing them that photography is not a crime, but that obviously did not make a difference because we were harassed again a few months later.

And finally, I decided to file a lawsuit in 2011 because I don’t believe a tax-funded private security company contracted by the county should have the right to trample upon the First Amendment rights of citizens.

That lawsuit, which is still pending, will be amended with the latest incident, taking it from a simple claim of negligence to include claims of false imprisonment, assault, battery and possible civil rights violations.

If anybody else has been harassed by 50 State for taking photos on the Metrorail, please contact me to be included in this suit.

I understand that makes me an activist, something a journalist is not supposed to be. I understand that makes me come across confrontational and looking for trouble when the truth is, I just don’t back down from confrontation when I know the written law is on my side.

And I understand that’s going to turn a lot of people off, including the local media who have essentially ignored this incident (with the exception of the Miami New Times), even though 50 State Security receives millions in county dollars every year.

Despite the fact that we captured it all on camera, Miami-Dade police who arrived on the scene didn’t care to view the footage or even hear our side of the story, which shouldn’t be surprising considering 50 State was founded by a former Miami-Dade sergeant in 1971.

But they did believe they had enough evidence to issue us citations for making “excessive noise” – even though they never witnessed us making excessive noise.

We are expected to pay a $100 fine and I am also banned from the Metrorail for 30 days, according to the police sergeant although it doesn’t say that on the citation.

Now I need to put a request in writing to ask for a hearing in order to get the citation dismissed because paying the fine would be an admittance to guilt, which is what they’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get me to do since 2007.

Had I admitted to guilt back in 2007 for the convenience of not having to go to trial for taking photos, this blog would never have seen the light of day.

And that would probably set right with many of the pansy bootlickers in this country. But it wouldn’t set right with me because I’m the one who has to live with himself.

And I decided long ago not to live my life like a scared little chickenshit.

Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.
  • Pb

    I love that they are all wearing “beat-down” gloves, showing me their obvious intent for anyone that might cross their path.

    • Roy Stamps

      They were those gloves to keep from catching Hep B/C from the idiots that make them put them on. Its simple. You don’t want to be ushered from a place, listen to the people telling you to leave and you won’t be. These officers don’t want to touch you people. Each and everyone of them would much rather sit their post and go home at the end of the day and enjoy the weather. People like you make that hard. The gloves is called being prepared. Nothing more nothing less.

      • Difdi

        But what if the people telling you to leave have no lawful authority to do so? Would you still insist that they be obeyed?

        Failure to obey an unlawful order is not a crime. A government employee singling someone out for abuse because they are exercising a constitutional right, on the other hand, IS a crime.

      • Roy Stanps

        Moreover, in the case above with Carlos it is still reasonable to think that the guards didn’t want to touch him despite the fact that they manufactured reasons to engage him in the first place, escalated the situation by invading Carlos’s personal space, and then instigated the violence and personal contact between them. This is so because I say so.

        • squintaroony

          Ha ha, trolls be trollin’!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rbellinger Rob Bellinger

    Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Tijuana Joe

    The first problem I see for 50 State is the initial verbal order to stop photographing via loudspeaker
    was blatantly unconstitutional.

    The next thing was the comment from Perez(?) that it was
    “against the law” to photograph the train tracks. Again, total BS.
    Then, regarding the drinking, you’re not behind the wheel, so the
    drinking would have been a threshold of public drunkenness, not .08 BAC, which seems
    far-fetched here.
    Find out what “Code 35″ is because that’s what he “officially” says to the other guy.
    Then he wants you to leave the station because “you’re refusing to leave.”
    Illogical, circular reasoning. Then it just turns into an assault.

    I think you’re going to make some dough if you push this. Good luck.

    • luv2zzzzzzz

      Code 35 is ‘drunk’ in pig latin.

    • Roy Stamps

      You know nothing. Its illegal for reason vital to the security of the patrons using the rail. And if drunks or people who they know has consumed alcohol, they could fall in front of a train. Stop jumping on the band wagon and find out before you open your mouth. Those guards did what they are paid to do. Keep the rail safe.

      • Difdi

        So, you’re saying someone who is drunk should drive their car home instead of using public transportation? Fail.

        Those guards are paid to enforce Metrorail policy and obey the law. They failed at both.

      • squintaroony

        Who’s safety were those guards protecting? How was the rail being made unsafe by Miller’s photography? In what jeopardy did the act of photography place the rails? Was Miller, a rail passenger, endangered by the act of photography, or was his physical safety compromised by the battery he suffered at the hands of those security guards? If their job was to keep rail passengers safe, they were doing the exact opposite of their job – by confronting a person engaged in a harmless activity, and using force against him. Miller, a rail passenger, was much safer before the guards approached him, than after. Who’s safety were they protecting?

        • Difdi

          They sure weren’t protecting Carlos’s safety.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647684635 Carlos Miller

        Yes, it’s much safer to push a man down the escalator than take a chance of him falling in front of the train, especially when the only indication that he had been drinking was his breath.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.bowling1 Robert Bowling

    I for one Carlos applaud your activism and hope you win your case. Having worked as a Rent-A-Cop in my youth I find the attitude and behaviour of these wannabe cops disgusting and reprehensable (and actionable, I’d have pressed battery charges and called 911 myself). As a working photographer I have had people question me in the past but have so far been able to keep it civil.
    Thanks for what you do!

  • Tom Jankowski

    I agree with you Carlos.

  • MG

    It’s not “activism” for a journalist to defend his right to free speech; it’s his job.

    • Tom Joad

      I really hate that idea….”journalism” has NOTHING to do with it. ANY citizen has that right.
      With few exceptions, it’s BS when someone tells police “I’m a journalist”, it simply doesn’t give them extra rights, it’s the same rights we all have.

    • Roy Stamps

      He wasn’t getting paid and he didn’t have permission.

      • Lefim

        He didn’t need no stinkin’ permission. It’s a public area and the rules say photography is allowed. See the previous thread on this topic.

      • dollym100

        that is the most idiotic reply I have read.

      • Tom Joad

        He didn’t need to be a journalist, and he didn’t need permission.

      • tom

        He did have permission. It’s called the 1st Amendment.

        • Michael Torbert

          The 1st Amendment doesn’t give permission for anything. It restricts the government from taking away rights already present.

      • http://www.dan-vidal.com/ Pod

        He has permission via the First Amendment. And Roy, those fucking rent-a-cops are lucky he didn’t exercise his Second Amendment rights. Armed men who aren’t cops rush me, well, there’s gonna be a problem, ya feel me?

      • Difdi

        Are you getting paid to post here, Roy? If not, what right do you have to do it?

        The same right Carlos does to take pictures. The same right that has been part of the fundamental laws of this country for 224 years.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kenbankers Kenneth Bankers

        Ok i will try and make this clear to you Roy and i will be polite about it as well. You see there is this thing called the Bill Of Rights. It says in its first section ( Called the 1st amendment) that NO Government employee can tell us where or what we can talk about or express our opinion on. That includes PICTURES AND VIDEO AND SOUND. Now to make it simpler for you Daddy Constitution and Little brother Government SAY HE CAN TAKE PHOTO’S there. Even Mommy Metro rail says he can take photo’s there.
        If it needs t be any clearer then that I think maybe you need to go see someone who can help you learn simple concepts.

        Have a great and fulfilling day.

      • Philpop

        Everything which is not forbidden is allowed is a constitutional principle of English law — an essential freedom of the ordinary citizen.

        (wiki cut and paste)

      • http://www.facebook.com/bridget.cash Bridgett Cash

        Idiot. Perfect example of a coward. In case you missed it Roy, Carlos did not need “permission” from anyone to be where he was doing what he was.

  • Suzanne McCarley

    Any journalist who is NOT a First Amendment Activist, is not a journalist; he is a heretofore approved propagandist.

    • Jake

      Most reporters practice what former Indianapolis Star columnist Ruth Holladay calls “blow job journalism.” They suck.

  • Guy Fawkes

    It’s too late for them to cover up with bs charges, you already have them on film giving the illegal orders to stop taking video. They should change their name from 50 State to 50 IQ.

    • Clark

      You forgot the – sign in front of 50.

    • Roy Stamps

      How do you know they are illegal orders? You don’t do you? You just got on the band wagon right? Idiots.

      • Difdi

        Actually he does know they are illegal orders. So does Carlos. You may have noticed Carlos posted excerpts from the law above. Or did you skip the article and go directly to trolling the comments?

      • Roy Stanps

        More generally, the people that assume that Constitutional requirements and legal precedent and rule of law apply and are worth fighting to protect are mindless sheeple. BAH! BAAAA! If you want freedom and liberty, quit questioning authority.

        • Jon Quimbly

          Go away troll.

        • Difdi

          If the people who are sworn to uphold the law can’t be bothered to obey it, why should the rest of us? We never swore to do any such thing.

        • Art Clark

          Roy, I’ve been quietly reading your dialogue on this thread, having decided to stay out of an a conversation with a pejorative throwing, unreasonable, and repetitive person like yourself, but your latest comments have me very worried about your safety and the safety of those around you. Please seek some professional help before you hurt someone who is close to you, particularly a family member. I’ve seen these symptoms before, and I’m afraid you might be close to doing harm to someone you love, and I know you don’t want that to happen. Talk to someone who can help you.If you own a gun, turn it over to a trusted friend. You’ll be glad you did.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jessewardclark Jesse Clark

    I agree that it appears like you instigated it (asking for trouble), but that’s really irrelevant. There’s no such thing as instigating when you’re operating within the confines of the law. I say instigate all you want if it brings more awareness and these enforcement bullies finally get a clue of our rights.

    • Difdi

      If instigating by lawful means made you wrong, all charges arising from police sting operations would be tossed out by the courts as entrapment.

      Just like a police sting, the criminals can choose not to break the law today. If they break the law anyway, the consequences are on them, not the “instigator.”

  • Common Sense

    I too applaud Carlos for his persistence in exposing the truth!

    Sure looks to me like this will fall into a “color of law” case, aka civil rights violation.

    Further more, I would think that fact the officers did nothing as to INVESTIGATE, but simply issued citations because of 50 States “complaint,” for which they were not even there for, AND the fact 50 States was founded by a former Miami LEO, and I would suspect many other retired Miami LEOS have also gone to work there, then I would suggest maybe there was some prejudice on their part NOT to investigate! Walla, another violation of law, failure to perform their duties!

    And hopefully the dominoes begin to fall!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/m4tthew Matthew Weich

    A 35 is a drunk person.

  • jo

    I am so sorry you were attacked. Keep up the good fight, and let’s hope those creeps get fired!

  • Virtualfrog

    If you notice the first guard had an ego problem from the start. As do so many that are given a little authority and see themselves as the boss not to be questioned. He approached and gave orders without a greeting or anything. He simply gave orders. Watch his body language and especially his face. His “I am telling you that is why” expressions show that he was going to
    be the boss.

    Carlos asked the questions in a very calm and clear manner. Never did he challenge with his actions or voice until he was told he was being taken downstairs. Even then he did not raise his voice much when saying no. The third one just came up and grabbed Carlos.

    These guards have never been trained in how to handle a situation. They are told that the Terrorists are coming and you are on the front lines. Give your life to protect the tracks and the riders from the terrorists. Everyone is a suspect and you must protect the very important trains
    and tracks of Miami. In short they are brain washed to become that way just like the TSA. Their training is abysmal.

    Don’t blame Carlos for questioning them. The actions of the guards were totally wrong in every way.

    • tomhoser

      Looks like they need a swift kick in the nuts.

    • Fotaugrafee

      Not to mention the fact that it involves the most minute amount of authority, which many job seekers gobble up like a frog eating flies.

  • Lefim

    Ah, see the problem here: “No person, unless authorized in writing by MDTA, or the County Manager when appropriate [ . . .], shall take still, motion or sound motion records or recordings or voices or otherwise . . .” at which moment the mind addles off the page and doesn’t complete reading the sentence. Comprehension-challenged, anyone?

    • Difdi

      That policy requires a permit for commercial photography. Like a fashion shoot or a commercial or a movie. The rule doesn’t apply to tourists, artists or journalists. Metro Rail policy, supposedly disseminated to all employees, makes this very clear.

      Commercial photography without a permit typically results in a police arrest for trespassing or a civil lawsuit. Being pushed down a moving escalator is attempted murder.

      • Lefim

        Congrats, you read the part at the point most guards who’ve fallen asleep and is the point of the policy.

  • http://twitter.com/patrickhenry2nd Patrick Henry,The2nd

    People don’t understand that the only way to protect rights, is to stand up for them. Its been taught out of many people that they should just submit to whatever cops want, even if its illegal. They don’t understand that nothing will change unless people stand up.

    You are a leader in the fight to protect photography rights- and its been a sea change in that arena in the past couple of years. Without cameras, MANY innocent people would be in jail.

    • Roy Stamps

      There is a time and place for cameras. Taking pictures without permission is not the time or place. For various reasons. You don’t understand that because you don’t like being told. If you had the facts, you might cool your jets. I agree, a camera can be a great tool. But only in the hands of someone responsible enough to use it correctly. He broke the rules and he knew he was doing something that would bring attention to himself because he had done it before. Deal with it.

      • Difdi

        I have permission to take pictures. So do you and so does Carlos. So does everyone.

        It’s called the first amendment to the U.S. constitution. Deal with it.

      • squintaroony

        Roy, Carlos was not breaking any rules. That’s the point: there’s no law against photographing from the platform, and there’s no metrorail rule against photographing from the platform, and there’s no 50 state security policy forbidding photography from the platform. The guards chose, inappropriately, to pay attention to him for his purely legal, inoffensive, permitted behavior. Unlike Mr. Miller the guards broke many rules, and many laws, when they assaulted and detained Mr. Miller. Why is that so hard to comprehend? Miller broke no rules, the guards did. Miller did not behave irresponsibly by photographing his friend, the guards behaved irresponsibly by assaulting and unlawfully detaining him. I want people to be responsible, just like you do. I want people to follow the rules, just like you do. But in the video I saw, the only people behaving irresponsibly, the only people breaking rules, were the 50 state security guards.

      • dollym100

        You sound so knowledgeable, perhaps you could list WHAT RULES DID HE BREAK..

      • sfmc98

        Lets back up. Lets look at something other than simply “the rules” (which he’s been clearly shown to be in compliance with). What is the harm in taking photos? Are there no other photos of this super secret conveyance that millions ride and see every year? Do cameras contain some kind of nuclear death ray that radiates anything in its path?

      • BMTLines

        Why don’t you read the Metrorail website… What part of “Metro welcomes photographers and artists to photograph its system…” do you not understand? The cops who ordered him to stop taking pictures violated both their company policy AND his constitutional rights. Deal with it yourself!

      • vendetta

        Are you implying that Carlos is not “responsible enough” to use a camera correctly? Maybe legislation should be introduced that only certified licensed and registered photographers be permitted to carry photography equipment. Furthermore, we can solve the federal deficit by assessing fines to anyone caught concealing or carrying a device that captures video, audio or still images … you know, like a cell phone.

      • http://www.dan-vidal.com/ Pod

        Fuck you Roy. Seriously.

      • Roy Stanps

        Let’s be very clear. We know he broke the rules because a guard said so and we know that guards never make mistakes or abuse their authority. Moreover, part of what makes a right a “right”, like a first amendment right, is getting permission to practice it from the relevant authorities. No responsible person would ever seek to take pictures without making sure that all of the local government agents approve. ;)

        • Tom Jankowski

          Roy what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone reading this is now dumber for having listened to it. May God have mercy on your soul.

          Besides, did you ever think that these guards are idiots? Of course not. Many people have said that Metrorail which owns the station allows photography. Metrorail is paying these people to enforce METRORAIL’s policies. Carlos was completely in the right here.

          Look on Metrorail’s website.

          That is the mo

        • chris watts

          troll alert!

  • blue

    Its County Property and not Public Property…Miami Dade County instructs Security not to allow pictures of the rail unless approved. Its a Homeland Security issue

    • -0z-

      Untrue. Metrorail’s own policy allows photography.

    • ExCop-LawStudent

      Homeland Security issue is cant for we really don’t have a valid reason to prohibit photography in a public place, and we know you have a First Amendment right to do so, but we don’t like it.

      In other words, it’s BS. There is no statute that prohibits photography in public.

    • Fotaugrafee

      You’re a fucking, toolbag idiot. There is no such thing as “Homeland Security” in the law books, as a means of defying one’s harmless, constitutional rights. The security has no right to deny one the right to photograph “the rails” (or trains, etc.).

      Do they have the right to throw a question or two at you? Sure, it’s human nature to be curious. They do NOT have the right to harass & assault anyone b/c they do not agree with his/her reasons for being there. That’s complete bullshit, and you’re a dimwit for even suggesting that what they did was within the confines of the law.

      County property is often taxpayer funded, and Carlos was catching a train. Good luck, Mr. Bootlicker Blue, winning THAT case.

      When you sacrifice your own liberty for a little bit of security, you deserve neither…dumbass.

    • Common Sense

      Homeland Security issue? Wow, that’s an original statement! Hey BLUE gets some facts about being a HOMELAND SECURITY issue before going there! You have NO idea what your saying!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1225924018 Rick Roberts

      Wouldn’t “County Property” be, by definition, “public property”? It’s a crazy — insane — notion that cameras are the tools of terrorists. If it’s not insane, give us a rational discussion of the threat. Explain it to us, because it sounds crazy to me that my camera is threat to anyone’s safety.

    • Difdi

      Wrong. Those guards were in violation of both the law (city, state AND federal) and Metro Rail policy when they took action against Carlos.

      Homeland Security was created by Congress, and Congress is absolutely forbidden to pass laws that violate the first amendment. Such laws are null and void (per U.S. Supreme Court ruling) from the moment of inception, not the moment of successful challenge.

      In other words, Homeland Security is subordinate to the constitution, not superior. If you hate this and want to live in a country where Security trumps everything, you’re fantasizing about living in North Korea.

    • darksideblues42

      County property is governmental, ergo, Public property. There is ZERO “Homeland Security” implication to photographic the rail of a train track. Regardless if it is policy or not, it would still be unconstitutional as prior restraint of free speech and freedom of the press. Furthermore, I challenge you to identify one real case where a terrorist attack in the US was preceded by extensive photography of a target site. Outside of movies, books, TV shows and similar works of fiction, photography has no real tie-in to domestic terror attacks.

  • Peter

    Keep up the good work!

  • Joshua B

    Carlos, why amend your complaint in the existing lawsuit? You should file a second lawsuit.

    • Difdi

      Amending his complaint allows him to sue for greater damages without spending more money.

      Filing a second lawsuit doubles his costs.

  • steveo

    If we allow leos or security to make up their own laws, there really is no end to the abuse that this can lead to. In Sarasota, the SPD issued 6500 trespass warnings over 4 years to people, mainly homeless, who were walking on public sidewalks. If the leos saw them again in the same area, later in the week or month, they got arrested for trespass after warning. But the original trespass warning was just totally illegal.
    Then because the people couldn’t pay the fines,they would get arrested for contempt of court for not paying the fines and got more fines, which amounted to a debtors prison.

    Who protects people who are least likely to be able to protect themselves? People like Carlos Miller, that’s who.

    • Roy Stamps

      Carlos Miller is an idiot, and so are you. Homeless people are homeless mostly because they want to be. Years of study has shown this to be true. Loitering and begging in places where people need to conduct business is uncool. Where do you live? You like it so much let them come to your house.

      • Difdi

        Just because a cop says something doesn’t make it true. There are orders a cop cannot give, and there are orders a cop can go to prison for giving. You’re either an idiot or a troll, and your attitude would be right at home in North Korea.

        If you hate the basis of all laws in this country so much, perhaps you should GTFO?

      • dollym100

        I am sure you are well versed on what it takes to be an idiot. You seem determined to let all the posters here know what a first class one you are.

        • Difdi

          Mark Twain had a fascinating comment on that sort of thing:

          “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

          • Tom

            Mark Twain was never hassled for photography!

          • Difdi

            And William Shakespeare was never arrested for computer fraud. What’s your point?

      • Freedom_Fighter_of_America

        Just because something is “uncool” as you put it, doesn’t mean you can infringe upon their right to do what offends you. Why do you think rights are a one way street? You can do something to offend others, but if someone says or does something that offends you, why they better bend to your will. Doesn’t work that way. Fact is, he had a right to be there, fact is, he broke no law, fact is they approached him, fact is they lied. You have no leg to stand on Roy. Lest you forget, laws that are made that are unconstitutional, are in all actuality not a law, it confers no powers. No matter how much someone wants to infringe upon the rights of others, that is not the governments job. There is no authority to do such. Rights are not government granted and can not be revoked by the government, that’s not the job of the government. Rights can not be put to a vote either. Go check your facts before you make yourself look like an idiot.

      • Roy Stanps

        I’d add that making the conversation about homeless people, the causes of homelessness, and the desirability of homeless people, as opposed to being about abuse of authority is welcome and reasonable given the context of the article. ;)

  • Lefim

    A quick flash-from-the-past: http://www.pixiq.com/sites/default/files/stephenmurray.pdf

    To quote: “MDT met with the security contractor and stressed the right of the public to photograph in the common areas of its public facilities. To that end, all contracted security officers have been retrained on the appropriate mannor in which to enforce Miami-Dade County Code of Ordinances, . . ., governing photography on the transsit system, and a copy of the aforementioned code has been placed at all MDT Metrorail security kiosks.”

    Glad to to see that retraining took effect! (/not)

  • Nicolas Martin

    I detest any legal exceptions for the “news media.” Government has no business defining who is a news reporter. The corporate media, on the other hand, love special privileges. It is essential for keeping them in the pockets of politicians.

    • matism

      The First Amendment applies every bit as much to Billy Joe Bubba Bob publishing his Atchafalaya Mobile Home Park Gazette as if does to ABCNNBCBS and their dead-tree fellow travelers. It is an INDIVIDUAL right for EVERY Mere Citizen. Regardless of what “Law Enforcement” and the “Legal System” want to claim.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.mayo3 Mark Mayo

    How can you instigate something when the premise for them approaching you in the first place is bogus? It is people like these security guards and the people against the actions that you took that night that make me embarrassed to be an American. I wish I still lived in FL so I could drive down to Miami and shake your hand. I applaud what you are doing Carlos!

    • Roy Stamps

      Mark, I assume that you have children. Please let someone else raise them because if you let them become as ignorant as you are. I feel sorry for them. The rules are not there to cause problems for this man. he knew what he was doing as he had done it before.

      • Difdi

        I hope you don’t, Roy. Since you’d raise them to be bootlickers to authority just like yourself.

        • http://www.dan-vidal.com/ Pod

          Roy appears to be a bootlicker. Subhuman garbage, probably.

      • steveo

        As soon as the medical establishment comes up with a cure for fxxkfaceitis, we’ll send you an email. and tell the rest of your relatives not to make the mistake of encouraging parents to marry who are 1st cousins.

      • Freedom_Fighter_of_America

        What rule did he supposedly break Roy? Thought so, you don’t know. Just because a security guard says it’s against the law, doesn’t mean it is. I could tell you it’s against the law to chew bubble gum on tuesdays and wednesdays, while wearing a red hat and having one eye closed. Doesn’t mean it is really against the law.

      • Jon Quimbly

        Troll is troll. Stop feeding the troll.

  • Luc

    One of the messages I see here is, If you ride Metro Rail you may get beat up by one of our armed thugs.

  • rust

    I’ve seen a ton of Carlos’ vids and yes, he talks as though he *could* be drunk. But that’s his normal voice. It’s a cross between what sounds like foreign born latino and some kind of stuttering football player. And whether or not he’s abrasive to you, tough titties. There aint no law that says you gotta be polite to some GRUNT.

    He’s a PHOTOGRAPHER first, not a TV star, not a radio commentator. First amendment right is probably the most important of them all. But, just like the 2nd amendment, there are a lot of trolls and monsters who would like you to give up your rights just because they say so, or because they say (either by outright lying or just being mistaken) that there is a law against something.

    • Roy Stamps

      So if you feel that way, when a troll or a grunt puts his foot in your ass you should be expecting it. Don’t be an idiot all your life. And regardless if there is a law or not. Which there is. You go into a persons place of wok, they don’t Hassel you because they want to. Big brother is watching them too, they have a job to do and stopping people filming on the rail platform is part of their job.

      • http://twitter.com/Stoutlagger Rob

        “stopping people filming on the rail platform is part of their job.” No, dumb fuck, it isn’t. There is no law, or rule, prohibiting photography of the metro rail in Miami.

      • Difdi

        If doing your job requires breaking the law and you choose to do so anyway, you are a criminal. Plain and simple, black and white.

      • squintaroony

        No it isn’t part of their job. The rules allow for photography, the law allows for it. When a troll or grunt puts his foot in your ass, that’s battery – and it’s against the rules. It’s against the law.

        Exceptions to the film permit requirement:

        (i) Individuals filming or videotaping for their own private or family use.

        (ii) Employees of print or electronic news media when filming or recording news events.

        You can argue that a blog is merely for personal use or you can argue that it’s “media” since there’s an audience for it. Either way, the rules provide for photography and filming. And the second the guards decided to intervene and stop Miller from taking photographs, the incident became a news event. He was within his rights to film and photograph. The guards were not within their rights to stop and detain him. Why do you authoritarian types always act as if rules only apply to people out of uniform? Why do you never demand that authority figures or public employees – or private security employees – follow the rules? There are rules that govern their conduct, too. But you seem to wish there weren’t: “regardless if there is a law or not.” Why is that? WHY would you want people in positions of authority to be able to compel behavior – or put his foot in your ass – “regardless of whether there’s a law or not?”

      • Roy Stanps

        It bears emphasizing that stopping Carlos was obviously part of the guards job. What would you have expected him to say if he had done nothing and his supervisor saw the relevant security videos (filming Carlos filming the tracks) a day or two later? What could he say? Would you have him say “I don’t think that’s a crime.” or “We all received notification from 50 State saying that guards shouldn’t interfere with photographers” or “It’s not our job to harass the customers without legal justification” or “What crime might I have suspected that would be sufficient to support a stop”?? Of course, not. We want and expect him to stop people and THEN figure out what crime might apply later. ;)

        • squintaroony

          Roy, that’s exactly what I would expect the guards to say in the circumstances you described. It is not the guards’ job to prohibit lawful behavior or to harass customers who are abiding by metrorail rules. Carlos was abiding by those rules, and behaving lawfully. It was the guards’ job to leave him alone unless and until he gave them some cause to suspect wrongdoing or rule breaking.

          In the actual circumstances, I would expect the supervisor to reprimand the guards – to tell them:

          “That’s not a crime, didn’t you get notice from 50 state that photography is permitted, it isn’t your job to harass the customers, you need to explain to me right now what crime you suspected and what gave rise to those suspicions.”

          Then I would expect him to pink slip them.

        • Philpop

          I’m convinced you are just arguing for fun. If you’re going to troll, you should learn to be more convincing.

      • Me

        Roy, I carry a concealed weapon. If these fucking thugs laid a hand on me, I would have killed all 3 of them, and claimed I was standing my ground. That works in Florida, remember?

        The job of a peace officer is to maintain peace; creating an unsafe situation for themselves and the citizens is not their job. Police and Guards are not invincible, and if they cause violence, they can be hurt and killed. I would have shot all 3 of these men, without hesitation, on camera. And the law would have been on my side. Consider that.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BITSQISYWFZRQW3DS3YZ7EAGKU QuadEddie

    You’re a lot more talkative than I would be. There’s no convincing these types – you are wrong in their eyes, no amount of talking will prevail.

    • Difdi

      He was a lot more restrained than I would have been.

      I’d have taken the opportunity to water the Tree of Liberty with at least a few drops when they attacked. I learned Aikido to protect myself from criminals, and my reflexes don’t stop in their tracks because someone is wearing a security guard uniform.

  • http://twitter.com/Stoutlagger Rob

    I’ve been following you for several years now Carlos, and while I don’t always agree with your opinion, I know that there aren’t many people that know their rights when it comes to photography and the 1st Amendment much better than you do. There are even fewer of those people that are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for those rights, but you stand up for our rights without hesitation or fear of the sometimes painful consequences, and for that I am very grateful. Thank you. You’re a hero and a champion in my book, not just an activist.

    • Roy Stamps

      He’s a hero to some and an idiot to others. But the rules in place on the rail are not there to harass legitimate photographers. And this really isn’t the right forum for a first amendment argument. If you want to film on the rail. get permission. Plan and simple. I know how cameramen can be. I worked with BBC film crews shooting Documentaries for years. They will get a shot if and when they can until someone tells them to stop or move on. I never heard a BBC camera man put up a fight like this guy did. They just politely say sorry pack up and move on. And no body got arrested. Yes, I agree you have rights. But you still have to follow the rules. Come to my house and break the rules and see what happens. The same thing as if I came to yours and did the same.

      • http://twitter.com/Stoutlagger Rob

        He was well within his legal RIGHTS (a term I don’t think you understand) to be there doing exactly what he was doing. He didn’t need to ask permission, because Carlos and his friend weren’t breaking any “rules” or laws, dumbass. http://www.photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Film-Permit-exemption.jpg

      • Lefim

        BBC crew are on the other side of the pond and are subjects of the crown. Here we’re citizens. I’ve lived in England for a number of years and can see the difference.

      • squintaroony

        Carlos Miller did not break any rules. There was no rule against what Carlos Miller was doing. The metrorail does not forbid photography. The law does not forbid photography. The law does not forbid photography. The guards took it upon themselves to enforce rules they only imagined existed, because of their ignorance. Look at the regulations Carlos Miller cited. Filming, recording, or photographing for personal use are permitted, and do not require permits. You’ve stated that he “wasn’t getting paid” as if that means he can’t photograph, but the rules say exactly the opposite – commercial film and photography (for which you “get paid”) require a permit, personal use does not. If you want to argue about the difference between personal and commercial use, there’s room to argue – I don’t know if Miller makes money off this website or not.
        But I do know that he has a large audience for this website, which makes his photography “speech” and a protected activity under the first amendment. There was no reason to detain Mr. Miller, or to prevent his exercise of first amendment rights. The worst rule breakers in this instance, by a wide margin, were the guards.

      • ExCop-LawStudent

        Who defines “legitimate photographers”? You? Some cabal of security guards? Miller was within his rights to photograph there, on any number of grounds. It’s public property for one thing, for another, no Metrorail rule was violated. It was an uneducated security guard making it up as he went along.

        • Lefim

          To expand ECLS’ point on definition: “[C]hanges in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.” (Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011)).

      • dollym100

        It is sad that people like you are so uninformed about your rights. There were no rules to stop him from photographing.

      • io-io

        BBC film crews are engaged in commercial photography and would need permission. Private individuals not engaged in commercial photography require absolutely no permission. If the security guards did nothing, there would be no post. The only thing that made Miller’s actions even interesting were the illegal reactions of the security guards. Their illegal reactions made the initial photographs news worthy – thus post-able on this website, since it concerns Constitutional First Amendment Rights of citizens. If you do not exercise these rights, you will no longer have those rights.

        • Difdi

          Depends on what sort of BBC film crew it is. If they’re shooting footage for a new sitcom, they need a permit. Likewise, if they’re filming a commercial, they need a permit.

          A BBC camera crew shooting footage for a news report would not need a permit.

      • Philpop

        Please tell me that you’re unable to reproduce. Your genes should not be passed onto an even more ignorant spawn.

  • Helena

    What I see in the video is in plain words and assult and intent to harm Carlos. Press charges should be to Mr Perez and his secuaces. Its clear those three individuals were out of control. This should have never happen ……no reason for their actions.

    • Roy Stamps

      His actions were reason for their actions.

      • Difdi

        By that standard, every mugger is legally justified in shooting any victim that resists. If those guards had governmental authority, then they committed a federal crime and attempted to violently enforce unlawful orders. If they lacked governmental authority, then they committed aggravated assault at a minimum and had no legal shield of any kind, just like any other private citizen committing such an act. Carlos was exercising a constitutional right, and did not break any laws. He was their victim, they were acting outside of the law and their employer’s policies.

        When you choose to commit a crime and your victim resists, you lose the ability to claim self-defense.

  • rick

    People named Perez are statistically more likely to violate Carlos Miller’s civil liberties.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647684635 Carlos Miller

      This guy clearly didn’t appreciate me in pronouncing his name with an American accent instead of a Hispanic accent. Maybe that was Nancy’s problem as well.

      But I could easily change that pronunciation by talking to them in Spanish instead of English.

      They probably still wouldn’t understand me when I tell them I am not breaking the law.

      • Freedom_Fighter_of_America

        Is it the same last name as Nancy’s. If so, perhaps there is a relation which could prove to be useful knowledge in court, would set the stage for retaliation.

      • steveo

        The real universal problem is that leos and security cannot abide it when citizens tell them NO. Another example, last week in my home town in FL, SPD arrested a gentleman who was panhandling and he was lawfully present. Not only did they arrest him for panhandling, they charged him with resisting arrest and then they beat him until he would go in the car.
        The city council struck the panhandling statute 3 mos ago and sent memos to the leos and leo supervisors. The chief sent directives to all the leos letting them know that they could no longer detain or arrest citizens for this ordinance. So, the leos arrested this guy illegally, then charged him with resisting the arrest of this illegal arrest because he said NO. He couldn’t bail himself out for the $870 bail so he sat in jail until the local ACLU attorney filed a habeus corpus writ.

        • Fotaugrafee

          Nice to hear that the ACLU even came to the aid of someone who had to panhandle in the first place…I think?

        • Roy Stamps

          Bet he won’t do that again. Smile:)

          • http://www.facebook.com/elliott.whitlow Elliott Whitlow

            I disagree, if the ACLU lawyer gave him good advice he told him to DO it again, illegal arrest equals cash in his pocket..

      • Roy Stamps

        They understood you, you didn’t understand them. One of these days someone will tell you to do something for your own good and you won’t listen. Hope i’m there with a camera when that happens.

        • Difdi

          The mafia often makes “requests” for people’s “own good.” The fact that someone will break the law and attack you if you don’t obey their unlawful orders does not make them right.

          It just makes them criminals.

    • Roy Stamps

      Now you are just being prejudiced.

      • Difdi

        Yes, Carlos being Hispanic himself is OBVIOUSLY a racist who hates Hispanics…wait, how does that work exactly?

  • Guest

    Carlos, stay safe! When I see this kind of thing ha[[en to good people like you, I worry that one day it will be your last video. I know you need to stand up for your rights, i just cringe when I see physical altercations like this and how I know they can end. Love what you do!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brieana.birdsall Brie’Ana Birdsall