June 1st, 2013

Miami-Dade Cop Fails to Intimidate Photojournalist off Public Sidewalk 52

By Carlos Miller

 

The Miami-Dade Police Department – which made national news this week by tackling, choking and arresting a 14-year-old boy with a puppy because he had given them “dehumanizing stares” – attempted to chase away a photojournalist from a public sidewalk Friday for no logical reason other than a cop felt the need to shove his weight around.

Taylor Hardy, who runs the blog, Miami Impulse Photography, and is a student at the Miami Media School, was covering a story about a ten-year-old girl who had died of cancer after a well-publicized battle that garnered the sympathy 0f many in the community as well as throughout the world with a Facebook page that received more than 66,000 “likes.”

After Bella Rodriguez-Torres’ death, the local media ran the times and locations of her funeral and burial as well as the location and time for a church gathering in her honor, all which were open to the public.

Hardy was standing on a public sidewalk across the street from the church during the mass preceding her funeral when the cop told him he had to move.

“Sir, the media is down the street, they don’t want any cameras here,” a cop tells Hardy.

Hardy tells him a police sergeant had already given him permission, not to mention that it was a public sidewalk where people were freely walking through as you can see at :55 into the video.

But Miami-Dade Police Sergeant H. Caraballo insisted he had to move to the media staging area, which wasn’t even set up yet and only makes sense if a public information officer is about to give a statement to the media.

The two debated for almost four minutes with Caraballo finally relenting and walking away, telling Hardy to have a nice day.

Hardy got off lucky because this is the same police department whose public information officer arrested me for video recording on a public sidewalk in January 2012, not exactly the most knowledgeable when it comes to media law.

It is also the same police department that arrested a teenager with a puppy last week for giving them a dehumanizing stare in an incident caught on video.

According to the Miami New Times:

During Memorial Day weekend, McMillian was rough-housing with another teenager on the sand. Police approached the teen on an ATV and told him that wasn’t acceptable behavior. They asked him where his parents were, but MicMillian attempted to walk away. The officer jumped off the ATV, and tried to physically restrain the teen. According to CBS Miami, police say the 14-year-old kid gave them “‘dehumanizing stares,’ clenched his fists and appeared threatening.”

McMillian says he was carrying a six-week old puppy at the time and couldn’t have been clenching his fists because he was feeding the dog with a bottle. He claims that during the confrontation the dog’s front left paw was injured while officer forcibly separated him from the dog.

The officer then forced McMillian to the ground and put him in a choke hold.

This is not the first time Hardy has had issues trying to record in public down here.

Last year, a group of Miami-Dade cops were fired after they were caught on video deliberately not responding to calls.


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  • Elliott Whitlow

    Come on, cops don’t like to be told “NO”, it violates their belief that THEY are in control.

    • Smoothjc1

      Ha that’s good, I will have to remember that one

    • Marcos Duarte

      They are in control moron. Thats what the word “Police” means. They are responsible for keeping public order; that means you (joe-public) are subordinate, whether you want to be or not.

      • Elliott Whitlow

        First you forfeit the argument by calling names.
        You also misunderstand, as a citizen we don’t answer to the police they are NOT in control, regardless of what THEY believe, they don’t set the laws, their SOLE job is to enforce the laws. The don’t set the laws OR get to interpret them, those jobs are for other branches of government.
        So you see, I categorically dismiss your argument that they are in control.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          Elliott, DNFTT. :)

          • Elliott Whitlow

            But I’m having fun.. Its obvious he thinks he is a big man, probably a cop or a cop wannabe.. I enjoy messing with people such as this, reasoned argument vs name calling. Kind of like I enjoyed messing with that cop who used to participate a lot on some of Carlos’ earlier sites..

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            LOL, then carry on by all means.

            I personally don’t think that someone who is a martial arts instructor and deli delivery driver is someone that really knows anything about the limitations on police, but I could be wrong.

            (I’m not wrong – I just said that out of false humility)

            Of course, it could have been his time at Paterno-Sandusky High that affected him too. I heard that JoPa was really into people obeying authority.

      • steveo

        I searched “subordinate” (in the crimes) in the Florida statutes and couldn’t find any reference.

    • Marcos Duarte

      They are in control. Thats what the word “Police” means. It’s those who are responsible for keeping public-order, employed by the U.S. Government; that means you (joe-public) are subordinate, whether you want to be or not.

      • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

        Which M. Duarte are you? The one that teaches martial arts and was educated at Ped State in Happy Valley or the Salvadorian national who was recently acquitted of multiple sexual assault counts?

        • Marcos Duarte

          Wow, you can read my Facebook …

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

        How would you describe the scope of law enforcement duties? Everything they see fit?

      • steveo

        Actually, when you sift all the senseless bs out of leos’ blather, the only real “order” that a citizen has to obey from a leo is “you are under arrest”. Unless it’s an active emergency where someone is obstructing the work of the 1st responders. If leos arrest you, they have to cite you with a violation of the law and explain their side of it to the court. They just can’t act anyway they want because they think the public is subordinate. I’ve never heard a legal argument like that in court.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          That’s because any lawyer that was stupid enough to make that argument would have his a$$ handed to him by both opposing counsel and the judge.

  • FUCKUPIG

    Nicely done ! Remind these fucks that they work for us. They dont CONTROL US !

  • Dave

    That’s the problem, they are public SERVANTS, they seem to forget that
    and think they are public CONTROL Officers.

  • Raymond Michael

    What is up with all the police cars? Was she an officers daughter or family member? I don’t understand all the security for a little girls funeral. Has the country become so paranoid that even a basic funeral is put into lockdown now?

  • John Doe

    Why not deal with a REAL crime like that Mercedes SUV parked blocking the sidewalk?

    • Ian Battles

      Hmm, tough choice.

      Generate revenue or harass a citizen?

  • rick

    Hey Carlos,
    In the second video of officers ignoring 911 calls, is that Socarras the same that arrested you?

    • Carlos_Miller

      His brother

      • Ian Battles

        Mom and Pop must be so proud.

  • Proud GrandPa

    I must disagree with your assessment, Carlos. While I agree the photographer was within his rights to record on the street, I came away with an entirely different interpretation of the officer’s speech. Consider this.

    You wrote:

    “attempted to chase away a photojournalist from a public sidewalk Friday for no logical reason other than a cop felt the need to shove his weight around.”

    I see no evidence of a good who shoves his weight around. Far from it. An impartial observer would hear a kindly older man speaking calmly in soft tones. He was not agitated or excited. A far better interpretation of his actions is that someone–one of his superior officers–ordered him to send all media to a designated location. The good officer merely attempted to execute his duty. Of course he should have disagreed with his superior officer and only then obeyed if given no other choice. The law protects the officer under such conditions, so we don’t have officers playing lawyer and disobeying orders all the time.
    .
    Isn’t that what was confirmed by events? The officer and his peers did not evict the reporter or arrest him. They were low key and quiet the whole time. In fact in the video the officer asked for clarification several times by radio and wished the reporter a good day. Hardly the actions of LEO who needs to shove his weight around.
    .
    Just my take on it. I bet I am right. Smile…

    • BusPass

      The mere fact that they spent four minutes trying to win that battle makes them pushy.

      • Proud GrandPa

        Being pushy is not the same as being persistent. Pushy is rude and hostile. Persistent is polite and firm. The officer was polite and firm for the duration of the video and left in courteous manner. I do see any pushy behavior, just polite persistence even though he wrongly thought his orders were constitutional.

        .

        Still unsure of the difference between pushy and persistent? I bet you never raised teenagers.

        .

        Thank you for observing and replying.

        • BusPass

          Since I know the difference between a teenager and a police officer, you can be sure that I know the difference between ‘persistent’ and “pushy” and since you are attempting to argue a distinction without a difference, I’ll let yougo on believing that it’s somehow rational to argue that the police officer’s impropriety can somehow be defended since he was “polite.”

    • Scott

      The media has a job to do just like the cops. What would happen if the photographer spent four minutes interfering with the cops trying to do their job?

      Once they were made aware that they were bothering the photographer they should have moved on. Anything they did after that went beyond reason.

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

      The problem is that the officer told the reporter that he “had” to go to the staging area.

      And the law doesn’t protect the officer under those conditions. The order was unlawful, and the Nuremberg defense has never worked in the U.S.

      • Proud GrandPa

        Yes, you are correct on that. I checked other sources and believe the law does not make LEOs immune from lawsuits even when acting in good faith. You might be interested in a civil rights case from AZ called Loudermilk. It went to the en banc federal court. There were many twists and turns and the officers were immune from lawsuit for violation of victim’s constitutional rights because they had lied to and intimidated the victim into giving up her rights. It is legal… for now.
        ;
        Someday our country will remedy this. Appoint better judges.

        .

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          Do you have how the case is styled or a cite? There are over 1,000 cases with “Loudermilk” in it.

          • Proud GrandPa

            Sorry about that. You can read the history here:

            http://www.hslda.org/Legal/state/az/MrandMrsLvsApaioetal/default.asp

            Find links to the court docs and articles here:

            http://www.hslda.org/legal/cases/loudermilk.asp

            The Loudermilks called Home School Legal Defense Association and HSLDA Staff
            Attorney Thomas Schmidt reiterated to the social workers, sheriff’s deputies, and even the assistant attorney general—whom the social workers had called for guidance—that the officials had no right to enter the home or take away the children; but all to no avail. Despite the lack of legal authority, the social workers, backed by the sheriff’s deputies and assistant attorney general, began to fill out paperwork to immediately remove the children.

            Faced with the choice between sacrificing their 4th Amendment rights and losing their children, the Loudermilks chose the former and under duress allowed the social workers and sheriff’s deputies to inspect the home. Five minutes later, the officials had determined that the allegations were completely false and left.

            HSLDA filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Loudermilk family, alleging that the search violated the 4th Amendment and that the unjustified threat to remove the children was a separate constitutional violation of the family’s 14th Amendment right to privacy and family integrity.
            ===
            In this case the police clearly violated the constitution, but did not get punished. Why not? They conned and bullied the homeowner into opening the door threatening to take away the children. Hard choice no parent should have to make in America.

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

    I’m not sure why so many Florida LEO’s have a problem understanding that if the sidewalk is open, it’s open to everyone. You’ll see me at a media staging area only if the PIO is on scene for a sound bite. Otherwise, I roam wherever the public is allowed.

  • Uncle Arty

    I understand that this cop is wearing a brown shirt and he really believes that gives him authority, but no one rules when no one obeys. It’s that simple

  • Boffin

    Yet again the all important “Can I stand here if I put the camera away” will once and for answer the question “are they trying to restrict photography”. If you get a yes to this question, don’t move.

    • steveo

      I have this old camera that takes cartridges that I bought at a garage sale for $6. It might even work if I had the cartridges. I want to get into a situation like this where the leo tells me to move and then I’ll leave the camera there on a tripod while filming with a handheld or lookcie, something like that and see what happens. Think he’ll take the camera or do you think he just wants me to move?

  • Marcos Duarte

    Everybody loves to defy the police; everyone thinks they’re a legal-scholar all of the sudden. The problem is, police don’t argue intelligently enough to give people a reason to have to stfu.

    Here’s how you handle that situation:

    “Sir, are you aware of what ‘police officers’ are? …

    Police officers, when exercising their duty, have authority over civility. That means, I am above you right now, and you are subordinate. When we have control over a certain area, that means for the time-being, it is ‘no longer’ a public area. Thats ‘why’ you have to vacate this spot, and go over there where I asked you to. Do you understand?”

    End of story.

    If he doesn’t understand THAT, then fuck ‘em, put ‘em under arrest.

    He can’t argue about his rights anymore. He was informed, politely-even.

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

      LOL.

      Obviously a troll officer. This is one of the reasons that we have to maintain civilian oversight over the police, and that we need to screen officers more thoroughly. Someone that believes what Durate stated has no business being a peace officer. I had to deal with a number like this when I was a supervisor, and had to watch them constantly to make sure that they 1) didn’t violate citizen’s rights (as he advocates); and 2) didn’t subject the department to civil liability.

      Some I even had to help get out of police work, abet unwillingly on their part.

      • Marcos Duarte

        What would you have done then, smart guy?
        Sit there and argue with this guy, making cops look even more like assholes?

        • Doug

          Let him be because he was within his rights and the law to be doing what he was doing from the spot he was doing it from?

        • Elliott Whitlow

          The answer is simple, he was within his rights and the law, in other words, the cop lacked authority to order him to do ANYTHING.
          Lets be real cops don’t get to make the rules their ONLY job is to enforce the rules already made FOR THEM. If that’s is too hard then policing is not the right vocation for them.

        • Phred

          Cops don’t need any help to look like assholes. They do that quite well all by themselves.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Flibberdy-Gibbet/100002270550493 Flibberdy Gibbet

          Did I get that correct? You’re saying that by the mere act of disagreeing with an officer, the person disagreeing makes the cop look like a sphincter? I see. So …. no personal responsibility for making themselves look like sphincters?

          lulz.

          • Marcos Duarte

            I didn’t say that at all. “Ex-cop law student” said that he had to watch-over other cops. So I said, what would he have done? Stood there and argued with this idiot, making himself look like “a sphincter”?
            In other words, that cop looked stupid ‘cus he wasn’t able to put this man in a position in which he could no longer argue. I think cops need to be more intelligent, and thats why people take advantage, and suddenly everyones a legal scholar whenever they’re given a direction from a cop. People are armchair gangsters; meaning that they’re too pussy to actually assault a policeman, so they “passively” defy them, by putting up stupid arguments such as: “I know my rights …” GTFOH.
            You people aren’t any badasses.

        • steveo

          We don’t have to argue with leos, just tell them, if you want to give me a real order, just say “you are under arrest”. That’s simple.

    • rick

      “Might is right,” says the bully.
      Too bad the court systems disagree and the dropped charges and civil suit payouts continue.

      • Marcos Duarte

        There was nothing “mighty” about what I just said. It was a perfectly simple explanation.

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

      No one is questioning the authority of the police over civilians, but last time I checked, this is America and the police can only operate within specific legal boundaries. When they venture outside of that area, a citizen has a duty to call them on it like this guy did. In this case, they tried to limit the movement of journalist on public property. The area was not a crime scene and there were no dangers present, therefore he should have been left alone. If he were doing something wrong they would have ended the argument and arrested him. They did not arrest him and walked away with defeat. Why? Because he was right and they were wrong. Not sure why that’s hard for you to understand. Cops who think they can bark unlawful orders are a serious liability and danger to society.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Flibberdy-Gibbet/100002270550493 Flibberdy Gibbet

    What dicks. lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Flibberdy-Gibbet/100002270550493 Flibberdy Gibbet

    ‘Your rights are on that side…” LOL what a putz!

  • steveo

    When police arrest someone or give them a citation, it is a requirement that they write the statute number, or municipal code number that is violated on the police report or citation. Why do they have to do this? Because in our system of justice and because of the 5th Amendment protection of due process, the State is required to prove that you violated a law and each element of that law beyond a reasonable doubt (criminal) in order for the defendant to be guilty of committing that specific crime.

    In this video, what statute is the citizen violating? We’ve gone over this before, but the leos usually charge a citizen who acts like this with obstructing without violence in FL. But in order to be guilty of this “crime”, the leo has to be acting in a lawful execution of a legal duty. Is this an emergency? Is there some compelling reason why the leos have to block off a public sidewalk? The leo here is clearly, not acting in a lawful execution of a legal duty. Guarding a funeral would not qualify as a reason the court would entertain to side with the leos in blocking public access to public property, just because leos believe that they should be chief censors of public information.

  • steveo

    There is a state statute 316.1974 Funeral procession right-of-way and liability, that applies to funeral processions, but only when leos are driving, not when the funeral procession is stationary. And we are only discussing State law and haven’t even touched on the rights of the free press or public as a whole.

  • steveo

    The leo did say in the beginning, “They don’t want any camera’s here.” I would have asked him, who is “they”, I need names. And if I don’t leave what are you going to do and what statute would I be violating, since I’m not familiar with any FL Statutes that forbid cameras on a public sidewalk.

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