March 21st, 2013

Miami-Dade Paramedic Tries to Chase Away Videographer From Helicopter Rescue 49

By Carlos Miller

 

A Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain named Greg Smart was stupid enough to think a citizen recording with an iPad was a “combative bystander.”

Miami photographer Taylor Hardy was far from combative Thursday, standing acrossthe street from an open field where a helicopter was landing to airlift a stabbing victim to the hospital.

Hardy said he was driving in the area in Southwest Miami-Dade when he saw a fire engine race by, so he went to check it out, parking his car across the street and stepping out with his iPad.

Nobody even noticed him until after 3:15 in the video when Smart and another fire-rescue official came storming up to him, ordering him to stop recording and leave the area.

They told him he had to leave because he was somehow intruding on “personal information.” Hardy countered by telling them it was a “public area.”

The information wasn’t so personal that the local media didn’t write about it, reporting that a janitor had been stabbed to death in a nursing home, which tells us the two paramedics maybe should have been focusing more on their patient.

Smart kept shoving Hardy back, speaking into his radio that he was dealing with a “combative bystander.”

Even after Hardy stepped behind some bushes, showing he was anything but combative, Smart insisted that he keep walking away.

Smart finally relented once the copter finally took off, obviously believing he had done his duty to protect the privacy of the victim.

But Smart was not smart enough to prevent the news helicopters from capturing a better video than Hardy ever would have done with his iPad from across the street as you can see in the video below.


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  • Happy_Tinfoil_Cat

    Looks like a real bad case of Napoleon complex mixed with roid rage.

  • Jim_Pook

    Wow. Somebody needs to take a chill pill.
    Do these clowns not realize that they are putting their patient at risk by spending their time harassing the public for no good reason instead of tending to their patient. Note that this patient died.

    • Carlos_Miller

      Good point, Jim. I will add that thought to the story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rodrigo.a.schmidt Rodrigo Blanco-Schmidt

    Same thing happened to me: the firefighter got anxy because I was filming with my iPhone and call the cops and I was arrested and charged with “obstruction” and “disorderly conduct” because I refused to erase the photos and videos. Charges were dismissed and then suit the police for false arrest and got $40 thousand dollars as a settlement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryancfrench Ryan French

    What an asshat! It was obvious the FD didn’t like it when the photog shot down the “personal information” bull crap. It’s a public place, plain and simple. Then, grasping at more straws, Cpt. Roid Rage then claimed the photog was too close. There’s several issues to his logic… most fire departments/air medical transport companies use the 100′ radius for a landing zone which should be clear of both pedestrians and ALL vehicles, including apparatus. It’s obvious that the photog was well outside that zone because A) he was further than the apparatus B) he was standing under a tree and C) vehicles were allowed to pass right between the photog and the LZ. The photog was simply singled out by a jackass in uniform who flexed his muscles in person but sounded like a baby in distress on the radio.

    • Difdi

      It’s illegal to interfere with emergency personnel in many states. But what if the interference is by the emergency personnel? The paramedic left the scene of the emergency to go hassle someone for no reason at all. Did the paramedic interfere with himself?

  • Bob

    Captain Loud is not Smart

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryancfrench Ryan French

    Maybe he should be tested for steroid use on the job? http://www.crossfitthreshold.com/about-us/our-coaches/greg-smart-coach/

  • Ron

    Was he really this ANGRY and outraged? He is going to bust a blood vessel carrying on like that.

    Or was he channeling a drill Sargent and trying to get you to submit just by the aggression?

    Personally I think, just by looking at him, that he is on steroids to bulk up and was roid-raging

  • http://twitter.com/OgieOgilthorpe7 Ogie Ogilthorpe

    As a paramedic myself, allow me to comment.

    First off,that CPT committed assualt. Plain as day. Second, he still had his gloves on when he approached the man filming thus exposing him to any blood borne pathogens he may of had. Notice the gloves had blood on them? Third, he has no authority to order anyone to stop filming. That guy was way more than enough distance away from the LZ. If he was in such a bad spot, the helicopter would not of landed as the pilots and flight crew constantly scan for hazards whilst landing. Forth, if that asshole is so safety conscious, where is his hearing and eye pro? We get people filming all the time when we do a scene flight. That captain needs some serious time on the beach. I would not of been as patient as the photographer. The second that clown layed a hand on me he would of regretted it.

    • Hamlet

      Thanks for the post. Was wondering about the bloody gloves. Someone needs more than a day at the beach. More like life with nice folks in white coats and pockets full of happy pills.

    • Difdi

      I don’t know about Florida, but several states have laws on the books about exposing people to infectious diseases. Doing so intentionally or recklessly is generally a felony in those states.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1511740582 Tony Loro

    He obviously lied on the radio when he called in a “combative bystander”. Although how does one standby combatively? Another candidate for education.

    • Difdi

      Making a false police report is a misdemeanor in most places.

      As for being combative, the only combative person was the paramedic. The bystander would have been within his rights to use force right back in self-defense.

  • Difdi

    Interfering with emergency personnel is generally illegal. That’s what the paramedic was accusing the videographer of when he described him on the radio as a “combative bystander.”

    But the thing is, emergency personnel don’t have a free pass to leave the scene of an emergency to assault and/or batter bystanders. The videographer would have been within his rights to defend himself against the unlawful attack.

  • Jim_Pook

    Anyone notice that Capt. Asshat was keying the mic on his radio while yelling orders at the photographer to “get back”? Seems to me that was an electronic version of yelling “stop resisting!” while beating the crap out of a citizen. Nice way to lay the ground for an obstruction or interfering charge against the photographer – until the video debuts in court that is.

    • Kyle Macarthur

      Saw it, knew he was trying to do it… except it didn’t work. The video trumps his phony version of events.

      • Difdi

        Except that if a cop ran over in response to the paramedic being “assaulted” and shot the photographer, the video wouldn’t be very much protection. Odds are the paramedic wouldn’t be charged with felony murder, despite such a scenario (death occurring as part of a crime being committed) being exactly what the statute is for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.m.gray Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    This is infuriating! Who the heck does Capt Smart think he is? We need to do a call flood on this one for Sure!

  • steveo

    Good lawsuit against FD for prior restraint. Government agents setting themselves up again to be in charge of censorship.

  • Tijuana Joe

    You screwed up pal, that’s Captain Smart! He’s a good buddy of Captain America,
    also Aquaman. Together they run the world.

    • Difdi

      First cousin of Maxwell Smart? They act a lot alike…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gregg-Jones/527975393 Gregg Jones

    How do police and other public officials tie their shoes in America these days?

    With little Nazis.

    • Drummer

      Ba dum bum *crash*

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.m.gray Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    Taylor Hardy I admire your courage and ability to remain calm while being accosted and assaulted by Capt Smart. That was intense!
    I hope you follow through with the incident by Filing a complaint and pressing charges against this jerk! As commenters have stated Capt Smart touched you with contaminated gloves, he shoved you,he lied about you being combative, he violated your 1st amendment rights, and he held you against your will when you attempted to leave. Get copies of the official report and see if he lied on an official report. Please keep us updated on where this goes.

  • Smoothjc1

    Did you get pulled over after you left ?

  • Howard

    Is there any place to make public complaints about Captain Smart? Facebook page? Fire and Rescue office?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=556521946 Avi S. Adelman
    • rick

      Funny comment also, “…must have been a LEO previously…”
      A much better picture below:

      • Ron

        He was sure acting like a hyped up LEO on too much testosterone.

        • vikingwarbrides

          Sounded like a damned marine D.I.

  • Tuco

    The restraint, the unadulterated restraint shown by Mr. Hardy.

    Wow, I would have not been so kind.

    The second he got in my face…it’s on.

  • MiamiSlaveCounty

    On behalf of the Attorney General, the Department of Justice would like to thank you for your many messages on law enforcement issues and activities and other matters of special interest to many groups across the nation. The Attorney General appreciates the fact that so many citizens have taken the time to express their views and thoughts on these important matters.

    askdoj@usdoj.gov

    Department of Justice Main Switchboard – 202-514-2000
    Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line – 202-353-1555
    Correspondence to the Department, including the Attorney General, may be sent to:

    U.S. Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20530-0001

  • MiamiSlaveCounty

    http://cdn.photographyisnotacrime.com/wpcontent/uploads/2013/03/Garcia-v-Montgomery-Cnty-DOJ-SOI-03-04-13.pdf
    Courts have long held that recordings made by private citizens of police conduct or other items of public interest are entitled to First Amendment protection. See, e.g., Glik, 655 F.3d at 84-85 (finding First Amendment right to record “clearly established”); Smith, 212 F.3d at 1333; Fordyce, 55 F.3d at 439; Blackston v. Alabama, 30 F.3d 117, 120-21 (11th Cir. 1994); Lambert v. Polk Cnty., 723 F. Supp.128, 133 (S.D. Iowa 1989).
    Similarly, the Supreme Court has established that journalists are not entitled to greater First Amendment protections than private individuals. See,e.g., Nixon v. Warner Comm., Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 608-09 (1978) (“The First Amendment generally grants the press no right to information about a trial superior to that of the general public.”); Branzburg, 408 U.S. at 684 (“It has generally been held that the First Amendment does not guarantee the press a constitutional right of special access to information not available to the public generally.”)

  • tom380

    why not just back away from the area as told? The cars driving by are not stopping, getting out, and taking video. Paramedics have the right and need to keep a rescue area clear. The problem is that Hardy felt he was perfectly fine were he was and Smart felt he needed to back further away. Being a firefighter I see this often, people wanting to get closer to the scenes, it is the responsibility of the officers on scene to determine the safe zone, not the bystanders.

    • ExCop-LawStudent

      Except that if cars are passing in between the videographer and the scene, it is not a “safety” zone, it is a press exclusion zone and unconstitutional. To be a safety zone, everyone has to be excluded, including the vehicles.

  • burnt Umaber

    Too many horse steroids injected in his glutes in combination with the resulting sexual impotence. This is what happens when you spend all day washing a fire truck and dealing with the fact that you are not attractive enough to make the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Man Calendar. You can’t help but feel pity for Captain Smart. Napoleon needs a reality check

  • http://www.facebook.com/3Dobes Ron Robertson

    Patient privacy is of no concern to MDFR when they want to show off and post their own videos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP-_0M8TSdo&feature=share&list=UUsuPEhHBlgvtDw1O8tE64IQ

    • Boomer

      Now isn’t that refreshing. I think you’re absolutely correct Ron, there’s no concern for privacy at all displayed here. The video clearly shows the face of the individual being rescued, and the exceptional work done by MDFD to help him.

      How curious it is that Captain Smart never thought of the horrible PR he was generating when exercising his “command” at the incident captured by Mr. Hardy.

      I completely missed the point made by one of the other commenters, apparently Captain Smart and his assistant noted Hardy standing there when they exited their vehicle, and didn’t take it upon themselves to initiate contact with him until the flyboy pointed him out.

      I’ve seldom seen anyone stomp up to a videographer as angrily as Captain Smart.

      One has to wonder what he thought he was accomplishing, particularly when he allowed Hardy to leave. It also boggles the mind to think of the heightened alert by the cops receiving Smart’s call for help.

      This was ugly, and I heartily applaud Mr. Hardy for keeping his temper under control.

  • n4zhg

    Latest update is that a complaint has been made, and MDFR is “investigating” the incident. No personnel actions have been taken. I guess since Captain “Smart” didn’t make a Trayvon Martin rant on facebook there’s no cause for immediate action.

  • Joewnage

    It looks like the problem was not with the filming as much as it was the fact he was not at least 300 ft away. If that is the case, then it’s understandable why the paramedic wanted him to “get back”. If anything had gone wrong with the chopper, or any kind of debris had been flung at the cameraman, those paramedics would be liable. He definitely committed assault though and handled it like an angry teenager.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bill.walker.33 Bill Walker

      If that is the case then they should have closed the road. Several cars drove by while Mr. Hardy was filming. All good point made but this one was missed.

    • the sage

      The first paramedic came up on him telling him he could not film. If not an issue then it would not have been mentioned.

      The road would have been blocked off if safety from the chopper was a factor.

  • MNCopBlock
  • KK
  • Greger Samsa

    That was such a serious series of provocation that I truly admire the patience of the photographer, where does captain America come off trying to push a member of the public with bloody gloves. I think when his supervisor sees this video, he’ll have a talking to Captain Smart. I wonder how he became a captain, probably by being a hopeless idiot that no one stands.

  • Art

    I like how he pushed the button on his microphone each time he was yelling at the photographer to make it sound like a fight was happening to dispatch. Punk a$$!

  • vikingwarbrides

    Playing Devil’s advocate here, the pilot noticed him first so perhaps his concern was not the videotaping as much as being too close to the blades, that debris on the ground could hurt him. (again thinking he has to follow some set of rules for flight)… When Capt. Smart and whomever approached, if they had told this guy that was the reason, instead of barking at him, I wonder if things would have been different?

  • mm2kay
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