South Florida Media Asking Citizens to Report Man who Photographed Government Building

The South Florida media is reporting on an alarming incident in which a man photographed a government building in Fort Lauderdale before driving off, encouraging the public to call “crime stoppers” to report any information on this mysterious man who was caught on a surveillance camera, adding that they may even be eligible for a reward.

After all, the man went as far as typing on his iPad after taking the photos.

Who knows what could have happened if it weren’t for an alert security guard who became suspicious after the man walked up to him and asked him for directions to places around town before walking away and taking photos of Broward’s Government Center.

Although the incident took place on August 1, Fort Lauderdale police waited until Tuesday, August 21, to send out a press release, perhaps as a test to see which news agency would take the bait to report any inane information they put out there.

Local 10 made them proud, going as far as kicking off its news segment with the ominous story, dispatching reporter Janine Stanwood to the government building that had been photographed where she interviewed a security guard and a random woman who stated that she was grateful they were trying to track down this “suspicious photographer.”

WSVN-TV didn’t appear to send out a reporter, judging by their news story, but they also failed to inform readers that the “suspicious photographer” wasn’t breaking any laws by taking photos of a government building.

Even the South Florida Sun Sentinel jumped on the press release with reporter Tonya Alanez calling the Fort Lauderdale police flack for more information.

A man recently raised concerns when he was seen taking panoramic photos and typing into an electronic tablet in a parking garage at the Broward County Governmental Center, authorities said.

Fort Lauderdale police are investigating the Aug. 1 episode as a “supicious incident” and are asking for the public’s help identifying the man, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

After asking a security guard “a variety of questions,” the guard witnessed the man at about 8 a.m. in a secured area of the building’s parking garage at 115 South Andrews Avenue taking panoramic photos or video and typing into an electronic tablet, Detective DeAnna Greenlaw, a spokeswoman for the department, said.

“The totality of the male’s actions raised concerns and he was told to leave the premises,” Greenlaw said.

Alanez perhaps should have read the Sun Sentinel article that was published three days earlier in which fellow reporter Adam Sacasa wrote the following:

Smartphones are almost everywhere, and these portable video cameras can do a lot more than capture a picture of your last lunch or latest outfit. Sometimes, they can land you in jail, especially when videotaping the police.

But according to state law, they shouldn’t.

The law allows people to shoot video and photos in public places, including pictures or video of working law enforcement, but some people wind up arrested when they do so. Legal experts say some police officers are playing fast and loose with the law, and these arrests are often tossed.


Carlos Miller, a multimedia journalist who runs the blog Photography is not a Crime, said people are allowed to shoot photos and videos of federal or government buildings from public areas, adding that people can see the building online from sources like Google Street view.

I won’t even get on Sacasa’s case for failing to link to my blog because he at least made a strident effort to inform readers of the law when it to comes to recording in public.

The rest of the idiots were just pandering to police, which is why we need more citizens out there with cameras willing to document government activity. Even if they do end up the subject of varied news reports promising rich rewards to viewers who call Crime Stoppers.

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.

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  • Difdi

    I notice the Local 10 cameraman also photographed the building. Given how they apparently feel about people taking pictures of government buildings, is the cameraman going to do the ‘right’ thing and turn himself in?

    • Carlos_Miller

      They want to make it so only they have that right.

      • Wandering_Bard

        Depressingly true.

        News networks and publications have been losing business to alternative news sources like twitter, and the plethora of citizen journalists out there.

        They love Feinstein’s amendment to the Media Shield Law.

      • Proud GrandPa

        In FL are citizens required to identify themselves to police with paper or plastic, not just with words? What if the photog had not left but had and id’d himself yet refused to provide written documentation? Or what if he were a video reporter on assignment? What might the media have reported then?
        Eventually the law and case law applications will catch up with this kind of thing and clarify it so we no longer have to wonder about the possible abridgement of our liberty.
        On the other hand I can see the reason for concern. His behavior was unconventional but was it really suspicious? Did his odd behavior justify police or guard questions or even detention?
        I think it was a slow news day and a chance for the local media to scramble for ratings. They compete for viewers.

        • bigone

          your right on point, slow news day, and they cant just add ads, they got to make people watch and in doing so get ratings, and in doing so the advertisers make money! it all boils down to money! every time, and money as we all know turns into power! so i say screw them, the MSM, screw big brother GOV., screw em all. “together we stand, divided we fall”, it is that simple! so CARLOS [or anyone in south florida!], are we going to plan something or sit on our hands and do nothing? time allowing that is of course!

          • tiny

            but we ought to be careful in what we plan, if too many show up, they may think they have a revolution on their hands! didnt Alice say that, or something like that?

        • john doe

          Well, I’m not viewing

    • john doe

      Yep! I would hope so, now that he’s a criminal.

    • john doe

      And they call us paranoide

  • Daniel

    Of course, mentioning or discussing the fact that the car didn’t have tags could somewhat deflate your sarcastic tone…so you didn’t.

    Photography is not a crime…we get it. And this guy wasn’t arrested.

    But to ignore all conduct just because a camera is involved is dangerous and is almost as silly as publicly chastising a journalist for quoting you but not giving your blog props, too.

    • Carlos_Miller

      Do you think they send out press releases and do news reports on every car down here that drives with no tags?

      • harry balzanya

        No probably just the cars with no tags( a crime )taking picture’s of a federal building. Totality of circumstances is what good judges consider.

        • Kriegar

          I think that there are a lot of cars in Florida that run around without tags-and those paper license plates in the back windows.

        • crazyassmofo

          …and accessing and parking in a restricted area.
          Seems everything considered together is a bit more than just photography.

    • Carlos_Miller
    • tiny

      DANNY: they sent out an APB on this dude, so your attempt at a point being he didnt get arrested is mute! they aint looking for him to give him a medal! and the “photography” part is an issue, a big one! the one’s in the MSM that made the decision to run with this needs to be fired! fact is you may even be one of their trolls, DAN, are you a troll? and dont bite my head off for just asking, that is a very good inquiry!

      • Phred

        “Moot,” not “mute.”

    • Ron Smith

      Thats the thing though – DID it have tags? Perhaps they were mistaken? Was the guy acting suspiciously? The guard says he was – perhaps he was mistaken or over hyped it all?

      • TheFlashingScotsman

        Define suspiciously. Obviously there are a lot of people that consider taking pictures to be suspicious behavior.


    got to be JOKE right? this cant be real, if it is real, we all in deep dooo dooo! which i hapen to think that we are, but sheeple are starting to wake up, i hope! not sure if i was in BROWARD that day or not, ill have to check, maybe ill have to turn myself in! i got to be a criminal, i take images of everything in public view! if i turn myself in, do i get the reward? anyone up for a ride to any federal building to shoot some images AND video? sounds like a plan to me, CARLOS, you setting something up yet, you got to be thinking of doing it. the only response i got from my other post was someone from CANADA. do i need to make it a double dare or what?

    • TheFlashingScotsman

      What if someone else was shooting video, and captured evidence leading to this horrific criminal’s capture? Do they get arrested when they turn it in?

  • Jeff Rielley

    If I look at a picture of a government building on Google Earth do have to turn myself in? Its a rhetorical question. Of course I would never commit such a heinous crime.

    • tiny


    • crazyassmofo

      If your license plate fell off your car then you are on your way to Guantanamo Bay.

  • nrgins

    Terrorism hysteria leads to more people seeing terrorists where they don’t exist which leads to more terrorism hysteria. And so on.

    Plus, this is a good way to prime the public for when the police tell them they can’t photograph a public building. This story may be in their mind, which would make them more prone to believe that.

    • HOWARD

      oh come on NRGINS, everyone knows there is a terrorist under every rock! you didnt know this? now all we got to is, turn over every rock! simple!! [MSM knows this to be a hoax on the people. they are in on it! and if the reporters are that stupid, they need to get a real job! and a life! and i happen to think some of them are that stupid and worse! just ask Glenda milberg and her camera man! LMFAO

    • crazyassmofo

      You are beginning to sound a bit Al-Qaeda-ish.

    • Difdi

      It also causes government officials to act rather like terrorists, in that they cause terror in people in order to get them to alter the behavior they have a legal right to engage in.

  • Headly Westerfield

    My only surprise was you calling it an “alarming incident” in the first line without a way of denoting sarcasm.

    That was sarcasm, wasn’t it?

    I hope they find this guy and he happens to be a tourist who just likes architectural detail.

  • Rail Car Fan

    It was stated in the story (in part): “… a random woman who stated that she was grateful they were trying to track down this “suspicious photographer.”;

    I’m really at a loss of words about the response to this situation…and I thought only cops were that dumb! (Emoticon of rolling eyes upward while shaking head.)

    Rail Car Fan

  • Ron Grounds


  • tiny

    just wasted some mins of my important life to watch this crap, the MSM make it out like its a real damn story, but they are the SHEEPLE SLAVES reporting what they are told to report! taking images, no plate, asking questions, acting weird all adds up to news story worthy of being broadcast and taking the time and energy of the MSM. give me a damn break, and anyone the attempts to justify this is part of it! B| B|

    • tiny

      that security officer needs to get a life! or fired, or both!!

  • Lance

    I bet in the newscasts there was images of the same building in the background. So they better turn in the reporters as well. His actions were deemed suspect so they asked him to leave and now they want to question him? Why didn’t they just step out and question him when he was standing right there?

    • HOWARD

      because the SO is an idiot, and a moron, should be fired! and get a damn life! cop wanabe is all he is! and you may quote me!

  • quadeddie

    I think there should be a call flood to the number. Who is this guy? Well he’s everyone who’s ever taken a picture. I am Spartacus.

    • rick

      Missed your post. Good job!

    • harry balzanya

      Your dealing with a empire that will cage people who give false names. Dont think the banality of evil wont stretch that low

  • Joe

    I saw a family at Disneyworld with 3 cameras – GET EM! Strap them down so they don’t hurt anybody!!

    • surroundedpatriot

      lol…might want to waterboard the children just in case.

      • Elliott Whitlow

        Better waterboard the grand-parents too, just to be sure! We are going to serve and protect the shit out of you!

  • Joe

    we must stand VIGILANT – because our multi trillion $ National Defense is too busy attacking other countries

  • tiny

    although the MSM are taking anything they can get, well cept for things they are told not to cover that is! and HELL, that is where the real news is, aint it! same thing with weather forecasting down here in south florida, let me see, some sun, maybe none, some rain, maybe none, there i did the forecast! its a guess game down here and they dont earn their money doing it. not in south fla, they dont. so they add, there was a LOW, bye LOW, then there is a tropical wave, then a high, then they got the beach with the damn ripe currents, or whatever they are. they are killers now, so want to only swim near those boys with knowledge to save your butt from drowning, right? the weather people down here pray for HURRICANES, i think they do, that when they get all that over time, and reporting 24/7, oh ya, it is their payday! they loved ANDREW! well they did, a lot lost their homes, but who cares about them, got to report on that nasty ANDREW, right? and the aftermath, right? and oh ya, did someone video that HURR.? better report them to the FEDS/FBI! they got to be terrorists that have them weather machines that create HURRICANES!

  • Kepano24

    i did it bitches…come get me…

  • rick

    Perhaps you are familiar with the famous movie scene where one by one a group of slaves stands and yells, “I am Spartacus!” in an effort to shield one man.
    Everyone should call the Fort Lauderdale police and say, “I am Spartacus and I legally recorded your government building in public.”

    • HOWARD

      heya rick, about that barcode, has anyone every told you, “Liberty or Security, you decide!” [i betche rick not many here if anyone knows, cept you and me, why i posted that…..HEHEHEHE

      • surroundedpatriot

        I’ve already chosen. BTW bar-code scanner apps are quite prevalent these days.

  • Phred

    If someone does ID the photographer, I hope the guy slams the door in the faces of any cops who come calling.

  • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania

    The main stream media has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for those that wish to continue to strike fear of for their security into the hearts of the everyday citizen. What a shame, making a legal action seem to be provocative action.

  • nuffofthisshit

    Here’s a suggestion let’s all go out and take pictures of government buildings and workers and make them our avatars . I will start to scope out my favorite government places to sit and photograph and find the perfect avatar.

    • tommy dturkey

      Thats a great idea!!!! I think I’ll use a picture of the local code nazi.

  • Jason Schafer

    Did you read about the old guy that lives near a Dam and was out taking pictures of flowers that grow next to the Dam. Next thing you know the FBI is at his door.

    Are you a terrorist?

  • buffalocalzone

    it was me! i was just taking photos of downtown ft.lauderdale, to show my cousin who lives in Italy what it looks like where i live, i took pictures of all of downtown and the beaches as well as restaurants, bars, wtf?! really?! its just a damn photo!! Guess i have to Delete my own photos now, wait………… its NOT A CRIME TO TAKE PICTURES!

  • buffalocalzone

    Psych- i was just kidding- don’t wanna get SWAT TEAMED for Photographs

    • tiny

      how could it have been you when it was me? just asking……

  • I

    Ban google street view ! U become worst than communists ! These things was in force in Eastern Europe before 1989 during communist era ! I c that US become worst than that period ! U proclamed US a free country but u adopt communists methods and propaganda ! What a shame !

  • Elliott Whitlow

    Uh oh, pictures of a federal courthouse..

    • TheFlashingScotsman

      “Arrest that man!”

      • Elliott Whitlow

        Good luck!

  • Joey Bach

    Here is an example of lack of training for both police and security officers. The gentleman who was speaking with the security officer had a golden opportunity to establish friend or foe with the individual taking the pictures. Since the individual was asking questions about local areas, it would have been very easy to ask question(s) on where the individual was from (does not mean that those would be answered).

    The security officer even after the original conversation had ended would even be able to provide more information and ask question(s) as well. Asking an individual to leave terminates the interaction very quickly. In this case, the photographer complied and the opportunity to learn more ended. Since there was no threat to the security officer, why did the media actually ask these kind of questions of the security officers and more importantly of the complex management? This is the story not the activity that prompted it.

    Having worked in the industry, my goal was to establish friend or foe in a friendly manner when I was not sure of what was going on. With certain activities (like skateboarding), there was no need to be figure out friend or foe but to firmly state that the activity is prohibited and they need to leave immediately. But with the unknown, my view of a friendly approach yielded positive results.

    As for the police lack of training, I imagine there our officers out there who are very good at establishing friend or foe without violating civil/constitutional rights. The demand for ID in so many of the videos that I have seen is so unproductive to establish friend or foe that you would think that the supervisors/training officers would encourage a different approach. Notice how I write demand… not polite inquiry.

    As for the media, I wonder if complaints to the FCC would be listened to. I believe the media trusts the police when they issue press releases. This trust has been violated. As for the printed media, I have no idea how to file a complaint. The appropriate punishment is that the police buys advertisement space for non-profit agencies and funds the production of commercials (both print, radio and television) for the non-profit groups. These ads should be run during the broadcast of the news.

  • DTM

    Good thing these “news reporters” showed video and video snaps of the things this “dangerous” photographer took too.

    Pathetic “news reporters” and another stupid police department.

    Feelin’ safe now America?

    • TheFlashingScotsman

      “He was taking pictures just like this one, here.” Yeah, I could see the modern crop of journalists doing that.

  • Herbert Napp

    Has anyone called these sheep and got a response worth posting?

  • $22798478

    I don’t even recognize my country anymore. Everybody is paranoid, the cops are absolutely ridiculous, and the news is so fucking retarded for reporting on this stupid shit that the producer should be fired.

  • bernie

    This is designed to affect the sheeple psyche. They are conditioning us not to surveil any tentacle of the apparatus.

  • Tom Jankowski

    I say that people should call in and say “I have information about the man photographing the federal builder: He wasn’t doing anything illegal!”

  • Ray

    All we have to sell is fear itself. – with apologies to FDR

  • surroundedpatriot

    if anyone has seen this man be sure to call CRIME STOPPERS, and stop this guy who committed NO CRIME. gimme a break people. the real criminals where all inside the buildings.

  • navyjet

    Ha!! Ha!! LOL… Massive surveillance of an entire nation, secret prisons, secret courts, secret laws, secret judges, secret police, secret interpretation of laws, secret list, NSA Officials lying before Congress with immunity, militarization of local police forces, the largest prison
    population on earth, internal spy drones, TSA deployed beyond the airports and onto
    the streets, indefinite detention without charge or trial, Free Speech Zones,Constitutional Free Zones, propaganda state sanction media, a call for the arrest of Journalist, toddlers
    deemed terrorist for playing with certain toys, sanction Eugenics programs, internal Government agencies hording billions of rounds of ammo, giant banks who launder trillions of dollars for Drug Cartels and Terrorist Groups provided immunity from any prosecution at all, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc……Nothing suspicious at all…. And photographing downtown in one of largest tourist destinations in North America is suspicious behavior. This video should go viral, internationally, as a warning to stay away, take your tourist dollars elsewhere!! Another Country!!

  • Zee L Usay

    My reaction is just rage. Why the hell would a “news” agency every even mention this? Well maybe as a “You won’t believe what the cops want us to do story.” story. It’s just more proof that the “news” media is being run from Madison ave. NYC.

    This page needs some “lawyer speak” disclaimer warning about the possibility of raising your blood pressure to high levels.

  • Zee L Usay

    What would happen if you handed a camera to everyone that was walking past this fragile building and filmed it? Just have people at both ends handing out and collecting the cameras? Would the entire population of southern Florida become “suspicious”?

  • buffalocalzone

    i just took a photo of the Government Center in Ft.Lauderdale during my Lunch break and i even “Recorded people” walking in and out of the building i’m such a terrorist!

  • buffalocalzone

    i just took a photo of the Government Center in Ft.Lauderdale during my Lunch break and i even “Recorded people” walking in and out of the building i’m such a terrorist!

  • Capt. Jack

    Just more fear mongering by a paranoid neurotic media! YAWN!

  • Capt. Jack

    Just more fear mongering by a paranoid neurotic media! YAWN!

  • ericfreerock

    Wait, so did he go INTO the “secured area” or just went TO it and was outside of it?