Today Marks the 7th Year Since I was Beat Up, Handcuffed and Arrested by Miami Police for Taking Photos - PINAC News
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Today Marks the 7th Year Since I was Beat Up, Handcuffed and Arrested by Miami Police for Taking Photos


It crept up on me because I stopped thinking of the past when I began focusing on the future of this blog, which was around the time I left Pixiq in October 2012.

Pixiq, as many of you remember, was the Barnes-and-Noble owned photo website that hosted Photography is Not a Crime for two years, paying me a decent amount depending on how many page views I would receive.

They ended up shutting down, forcing me to have to start paying for hosting and dealing with ongoing tech issues, but also giving me the freedom to turn this site into something much bigger than Pixiq had ever been, which was not much after they cancelled my contract a few months before shutting down.

Since then, I’ve been putting all my energy, money and time into turning this blog into a full-fledged news site with multiple writers as well as a section on public records education from all states. All that will take a while, beginning with a redesign that will take place in several stages, which I’m hoping will be complete by the end of this year.

There is also a book I just completed that is set to go to print next week and will be available for purchase in May which will further raise the prominence of this site. Plus lawsuits, including one I’m set to go to trial on against the Miami-Dade Metrorail security company for attacking me last year for taking photos, as well as another one I am filing against the Miami-Dade Police Department for arresting me during the Occupy Miami eviction.

So I haven’t had much time to think about the past, except today when I was talking to my book editor about some of the photos I took the night of my February 20, 2007 arrest and it dawned on me that today is the seven year anniversary.

There was no blog back then, so I posted my story on Democratic Underground, a liberal website I used to post on during the Bush years, and from there, the story went viral, reposted on sites like Digg, Boing Boing and Thomas Hawk, none which I had heard of back then.

I launched PINAC two months later as I prepared for trial and since then, many more stories have gone viral.

Below is the original post, which included the photo I posted above, where the header image comes from.

All those cops I have written about over the years, all those cops I have exposed. They owe it all to the cops above. The cops who changed my life.

I was beat up, handcuffed and arrested by Miami police after photographing them against their wishes

The cops slammed me to the pavement even though I offered no resistance, causing a deep abrasion on my right knee.

One cop grabbed me by the back of the head and repeatedly bashed my forehead against the sidewalk, causing abrasions and swelling to the right side of my forehead.

Another cop grabbed my right hand and bent it backwards in a 90 degree angle, causing me to scream out in pain and continued to do so even after the handcuffs were placed on me.

As I verbally protested, one cop threatened me with a taser gun if I did not stop talking.

I was charged with five counts of disobeying a police officer, one count of obstructing justice, one count of obstructing traffic, one count of disorderly conduct and one count of resisting arrest without violence.

I ended up spending 16 hours in the Miami-Dade County Jail, a rat-infested building that is more Abu Ghraib than American Grade.

I plan on suing the Miami Police Department for false arrest, excessive violence, destruction of personal property, including a $400 camera flash and medical expenses incurred as I had to go to urgent care for x-rays. At the doctor’s request, I also need to get an MRI to make sure there is no internal bleeding in my skull.

Today, I will contact the Miami ACLU office about this, where I happen to be a card-carrying member.

The incident occurred Tuesday night on Biscayne Blvd and 69th Street, where I was on a journalism assignment about the transition of Biscayne Blvd from seedy motel strip to trendy urban center. I had spent the day at the Anna Nicole Smith Media Circus
and I was now switching gears towards more serious journalism. I had just finished a cell phone conversation with one of my editors about the progress I was making on this story.

After hanging up, I walked over to an area where five cops were questioning a man, threatening him with arrest for reasons that were unknown to me. The cops were standing in a gravel construction area between the road and the sidewalk. I was standing on the gravel as well, but I was about 20 yards from them. The gravel area is part of the expansion construction that has been ongoing on the Blvd, which will eventually convert the street from two lanes to four lanes.

One of the cops told me to keep walking because this was a “private matter”.
I said that I will not keep walking because this is a “public street”.

Within seconds, the five officer left the man they were questioning alone and came after me. One cop escorted me across the road. As I stood on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road, the cops began surrounding me, which was when I took several more photos.

That was when they slammed me against the pavement, bashed my forehead repeatedly against the sidewalk, pulled my wrist back in an extreme unnatural position and threatened to shoot me with a taser gun.

On the arrest affidavit, the cops lied several times in order to justify their arrest. They accused me of photographing them without identifying myself, which is not true (and not even against the law as far as I know). As soon as one of the officers questioned me about taking photos, I immediately identified myself by name and stated that I was a journalist.

They accused me of stating that “I can do whatever the hell I want” when I said no such thing. I remained professional throughout the entire incident, even as I tried to remind them that I had a full legal right to photograph them.

And they accused me of standing in the middle of Biscayne Blvd while I was taking photos, obstructing traffic, which is why they had to arrest me. This is not true, as anybody familiar with the street can confirm, I would have been struck by a car within seconds.

In fact, one of the photographs I took as they approached me clearly shows that Biscayne Blvd is behind them.

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