About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

Check Also

William Robocop Melendez convicted

Award-Winning Michigan Officer Known as “Robocop” Receives 13-Month Sentence for Vicious Beating Caught on Camera

The Michigan cop known as Robocop will spend at least 13 months in prison for …

  • RememberWhenKidsLookedUpToCops

    I don’t think the officer was stupid, I think she was assuming the videographer was stupid like most cops do. They assume WE are the incompetent ones and thus try to use made up shit to scare us into compliance. Alas, A.C.A.B a pig is a pig, white, black, brown or yellow…male or female.

    • Todd

      These members of the SWINE family are CRIMINALS. It is illegal to “make up” and enforce laws that do NOT exist.

  • Bill Larson

    One question, and only one response… Am I suspected of having committing a crime? If their answer is no, then respond I do not wish to answer any questions. In most states you do not have to identify your self unless you are suspected of having committed a crime.

  • steveo

    Why don’t leos just answer you if you ask if you are being detained? I don’t get it, it just makes leos look more like they are set apart from the public. Also, why do they say, “May I help you when you haven’t asked for any help. I think from now on I’m just going to say, “No, I’m just browsing” kind of like what I would say to a store clerk. Hey, ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

    Also, in FL, commercial vehicles are exempt from the seatbelt law. That is why school children don’t have to wear seatbelts in buses and you don’t have to wear a belt in a taxi. I suppose if we all bought the magnet stickers for our cars saying that we did something commercial, we wouldn’t have to wear the seatbelt either. It does seem a bit hypocritical for leos to disobey the seatbelt law during their saturation campaign, though.

    • Difdi

      Because if you’re being detained, they’re vague about it and you walk away, they can arrest you for resisting arrest. Even though they claim you weren’t arrested until you resisted arrest even though there was no arrest to resist. Or something like that.

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

        Nah, it’s actually much simpler.

        They’re trying to avoid an argument. Most contacts come on traffic stops. Quite a few violators will try and argue with you if you tell them what the stop is for before you get the DL from them (or flat out refuse to provide it, if they don’t think they rolled the stop sign or whatever). Officers are trained by repetition to get the DL first, then discuss what the officer is going to do (issue a ticket, warn them, etc). Arguments lead to complaints, so you try and avoid the argument.

        It’s also a matter of control, which officers are taught that they need to maintain at the scene. (Sort of an “I’ll ask the questions here” attitude)

        I never thought about the resisting aspect and never heard of another officer that thought that way.

        • Difdi

          There’s also the fact that an arrest typically involves a lot more paperwork than a voluntary encounter. So if they go vague on you, they can often get arrest-level information out of you without arrest-level paperwork.

          But if you call them on it, most times they’ll decide to go with the smaller amount of paperwork, unless they REALLY need that information.

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    I was truly astonished that I was confronted by Trooper Thompson . After the confrontation with the command center a couple of years ago (second video) I haven’t had any problems with Troopers. I guess Sgt. Thompson never got the memo not to interfere with people’s right to document. I didn’t even have my back up camera going at first!

    What do you guys think about the citizen seatbelt checkpoint idea? I would love to see more people doing checkpoints on they’re local law enforcement.

    • Difdi

      Oregon has a nifty law, where citizens can essentially write traffic citations on police officers. Is there anything similar in Florida?

    • Tijuana Joe

      First they recommended seat belt usage. Then they said they could cite you
      for it but only if they pulled you over for something else. Now they
      have “Seatbelt checkpoint area.”

      Fuck them, they don’t even follow their own rules.

      • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

        Yeah the same is going on now with the push for a ban on texting while driving. At first ,like when they passed the seatbelt law,it’s going to be a secondary offense but it will eventually become a primary offense. They always claim public safety as the principle interest but we all know its about the money. Only this time with the texting law they are just going to go ahead and exempt so called 1st responders! (Florida)

      • steveo

        I think what really upsets me about the seatbelt law is that we’ve had mandatory use of seatbelts for years now, but my car insurance goes up every six months. I guess if seatbelts actually worked there would be fewer injuries, but I suppose that isn’t the case.

    • Common Sense

      Jeff, as a FL LEO, I applaud your efforts to show no one is above the law. I further compliment you on showing your knowledge of photography and the law. This is a constant embarrassment to those of us who consider ourselves professionals. I laugh at the FL LEO’s, because I know FL law, when they say its illegal or I’ll arrest you for that. That just shows their ignorance of their job. Off ALL the cases you can find, in FL, how many times have you ever seen a charge, or semblance of, of “illegal photography?” None! That’s because there is NO such thing.

      I would like to add you have to be a little easier on Troopers, they only know traffic laws and would not be able to find any other law if its not in FSS 316 or 322 (Yep Trooper jab), LOL!

      • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

        Hi Common Sense,thanks for your honesty and kind words. I have had a few LEO’s tell me in person,the same thing confidentially. I have also had what I presumed to be an of duty LEO,in his POV,threaten me
        (he shouted “you’re fucking dead” and gave me the throat slash motion) while I was driving down the road with my family.
        My goal is to show as many people as i can that they still have rights and that they can assert their rights in a calm,polite,respectful manner. I also want to show LEO’s not to take a citizen asserting their rights as contempt of cop. I think it’s cool that my most viewed video by far is of a positive encounter with a LEO!

  • JeromeMac

    How can cops be so ignorant of the law? They make sometimes close to $100,000 a year and they have less knowledge about the law than a high school freshman.

    • Difdi

      Simple. Because the entire system, from their bosses in the police force to prosecutors to judges to jurors to the general public will excuse their “mistakes”. All they need to do is make a half-hearted apology and sometimes not even that, and their “mistake” is excused and forgotten.

      Police can often get away with lying in court or anywhere else, but if they can honestly claim ignorance of the law, all the better. As a result, police have an incredibly strong incentive to not know the law very well.

      No one else can do that. If a private citizen makes the same sort of mistake, they get the full treatment (to the fullest extent of the law) and admitting they made a mistake is treated as a confession.

      What always boggles my mind about the situation is how the courts can treat police as expert observers, highly trained in the law and absolutely infallible, then excuse poor memory, gross incompetence in the law and “honest” mistakes. Often in the same police witness in a matter of minutes.

  • Boomer

    Jeff, did you notice that when the officer drove off, she didn’t have her seat belt on? I thought that was as hilarious as the sour look on her face when the other office told her, apparently, that she couldn’t stop you from doing what you were doing.

    She looked really steamed, like she’d just eaten a persimmon.

    • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

      Yes I did notice tha she drove off with no seatbelt as did the Helpful Trooper in the Tahoe.

  • Chris McKenna

    My stock answer when asked “May I help you?” is “Yes, do you know Avagadro’s number? I was supposed to call him but I forgot it.” I suppose it would be funnier if the cop was a chemistry major, but I always laugh when they get this confused look on their face.

    • JdL

      Good one! (I actually was a chemistry major). Another possible response: “Yes, you’re blocking my view; would you please move?”

  • rick

    How many magazines are needed? Must be a war zone over there

  • Is this Legal?

    He should file a complaint & a civil 1983 action. It still amazes me how assume they are above the law regarding this. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public for anyone, including law enforcement. In case you haven’t read it, the link below is too a case out of the 1st Circuit upholding an individual’s civil suit against police because they arrested him & took him to jail for filming the police arresting someone in a public park. Glik v. Cunniffee, 655 F.3d 78, 1st Cir. 2011.


    “As the Supreme Court has observed, “the First Amendment goes beyond protection of the press and the self-expression of individuals to prohibit government from limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.” First Nat’l Bank v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 783, 98 S.Ct. 1407, 55 L.Ed.2d 707 (1978); see also Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 564, 89 S.Ct. 1243, 22 L.Ed.2d 542 (1969) (“It is … well established that the Constitution protects the right to receive information and ideas.”). An important corollary to this interest in protecting the stock of public information is that “[t]here is an undoubted right to gather news `from any source by means within the law.'” Houchins v. KQED, Inc., 438 U.S. 1, 11, 98 S.Ct. 2588, 57 L.Ed.2d 553 (1978) (quoting Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 681-82, 92 S.Ct. 2646, 33 L.Ed.2d 626 (1972)).

    The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles. Gathering
    information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.” Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218, 86 S.Ct. 1434, 16 L.Ed.2d 484 (1966). Moreover, as the Court has noted, “[f]reedom of expression has particular significance with respect to government because `[i]t is here that the state has a special incentive to repress opposition and often wields a more effective power of suppression.'” First Nat’l Bank, 435 U.S. at 777 n. 11, 98 S.Ct. 1407 (alteration in original) (quoting Thomas Emerson, Toward a General Theory of the First Amendment 9 (1966)).”

    • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

      Wow! Thanks for the info.

  • Lori Alayne Weber Miller

    Yup public employee in a public place Using public property filling publicly owned vehicles with publicly purchased gas. Whilst on duty in uniform that states they serve the public. I expect they had best not be doing anything that is not fit to become public knowledge.

  • Luc

    How many people does she plan on shooting? 4 magazines, is she that bad of a shot, or just a natural born killer?

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

      That’s not uncommon now, dependent on the sidearm used. She’s actually (it appears) is carrying 3 spares. I carried 4, but did not use a hi-capacity pistol like a Glock or Sig, instead carrying a 1911.

      • Difdi

        She has three spares, but presumably has one in the gun. That makes 4. Assuming she doesn’t have more on the other side of her body.

    • Difdi

      She carries 3 spare magazines for the same reason I carry 4 with my own sidearm. Because if someone is shooting at you, you shoot until you stop them or they stop you.

      Nobody respects calling a time out to go home for more ammunition in the middle.

      • Luc

        If you can’t hit your shooter with your first 14 rounds, you need to take a breath and try aiming with the next 14. If you need 4 14 round magazines you are just a danger to society.

        • Difdi

          Quite true. But just like nobody goes out expecting a gunfight during lunch, someone who has had one anyway doesn’t expect one on the drive home either.

          Photographers carry more than one memory card or roll of film because it’s a little awkward to have to make a run to the store or home for more in the middle of whatever you’re photographing. Guns follow similar logic.

          Better to have and not need than need and not have.

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

            Exactly. I was speaking of the spares on the body. Most officers also carry extra ammo and or magazines in the squad also, for the same reason.

            It was the same when I started, and all PDs were still using revolvers. I had 2 speedloaders in pouches and 6 rounds in loops on the belt, with a box of rounds in the car.

            There are situations where I can see needing that amount of ammo. The North Hollywood shootout for one. The FBI Miami shootout is another. Not high probability occurrences, but I wouldn’t want to be in one and run out of rounds.

          • Difdi

            ALL Revolvers? Heh, should I start referring to you as The Old Fart? =P

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

            Yup, all wheelguns. I carried a .357 (which was the most popular in my parts), but there were some .38s, .41, & .45LCs too. Even after we switched to semi-autos, I always had a snubnose revolver as a back-up gun. And, LOL, I’m old…

          • Difdi

            Are you old enough to have seen someone rack a slide on a revolver, or was that before your time? =P

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

            LOL, nah, but my officers used to accuse me of starting when they issued flintlocks…

  • Todd

    It makes me sick to hear cops “making up” laws to be in control. “Making up” crimes so they can have something to accuse you of violating makes no sense. They should be fired for this crap. ALL cops are CROOKS.

    • Difdi

      If a private citizen made up a law and made an arrest on the basis of the made-up law, they’d be charged with crimes like false arrest, unlawful detention, false imprisonment, assault, battery, assaulting a police officer, impersonating a police officer, etc, etc. Basically have the book thrown at them and see what sticks.

      That private citizen would have to expend great amounts of time and money defending themselves in court and could be imprisoned for decades if the defense fails.

      A private citizen has not sworn an oath to uphold and enforce the law.

      But a police officer makes up a law and makes a false arrest, unlawfully detains someone, false imprisons them, assaults and batters them, etc…and you have to sue them in civil court to even touch them in any lawful way. They won’t suffer any criminal penalties as a rule, probably won’t even see a court room for their crimes. If you win in the civil lawsuit (and odds are you won’t), it will be years later and the settlement/court judgment gets paid by insurance not the criminal you sued, more often than not.

      If you were to pass a statute granting police and prosecutors the rights and legal shields the doctrine of immunity provides them, it would be struck down almost instantly as unconstitutional. The constitution allows for equal rights, but prohibits the creation of a special (noble) class with extra rights ordinary citizens lack.

      Except that due to the doctrine of immunity, courts will simply refuse to hear any case that violates the doctrine. This is justice?

  • Joseph Von Zipper

    Filling up a bus with gas is a crime scene?

    • Jack Deth

      Hi, Joseph:

      How’s your brother, Eric?

  • dcrasta

    She looks like a man LOL.

  • Laken Blacken

    Sir I respectfully decline your unlawful request and if you continue speaking to me in that manner and making threats you better get used to that nozzle.

  • Jack Deth

    Sue her for Assault. Then sue the county and state for damages and use the video clip as evidence.

    Granted, you cannot fix stupid, but you can by God make it hurt!