Miami-Dade Cops Arrest Man for Video Recording them Making Arrest


A Miami man spent ten days in jail for recording police arresting his friend, accused of falsifying his name when all he did was refuse to provide his name on the basis that he wasn’t doing anything illegal.

In fact, Lazaro Estrada followed the Miami-Dade police officer’s initial orders to scurry back inside a store because the cop insisted he was in fear for his life, claiming the man he had handcuffed was still armed.

If that was truly the case, then the cop, Michael Valdez, has his own self to blame for putting his life in danger.

But Estrada said his friend, who was getting arrested for fleeing officers on his motorcycle three weeks earlier, not only has a concealed weapons permit, but the officer had already removed the gun.

And the handcuffed man wasn’t resisting in the slightest, so the cop was simply overdramatizing the situation as they always do.

But the man’s fiancee was getting hysterical over watching her future husband getting arrested, so she began shrieking at Estrada to get back inside the store, which he did, even though he knew he was legally entitled to remain outside recording.

The incident took place March 17 at a store specializing in vaporizers owned by the man getting arrested. Estrada had been hired as a DJ for a special St. Patrick’s Day event.

After he was ordered inside, Estrada continued recording through the window from inside the store.

But at least two witnesses remained outside, so he stepped back outside at 5:15 in the video, prompting the cop to order him back inside.

“Can you tell him to get inside the store,” Valdez ordered, which prompted the handcuffed man’s fiancee to shriek hysterically to “get inside the store.”

This is a classic situation of a woman who was under duress watching her fiancé get arrested and probably not aware of our legal rights to video record cops in public, so it’s important in these situations to take control, informing the uninformed citizen of our rights and assuring them that you’re doing nothing but trying to protect the person getting arrested.

At 7:18 in the video, when a multitude of cops have arrived, the initial cop gets very brave and starts yelling profanities at the handcuffed man, which prompted Estrada to move towards the door of the store.

And that prompted several cops to storm up to him and demand his identification, which he refused to do.

And that led to his arrest.

“Let me explain something to you,” Valdez said as he approached Estrada.

“The guy is armed and is three times my size and I’m telling you to back off.

“You’re going to be arrested for … for … for … uh … ah.”

They later determined he had been obstructing justice, the usual makeshift charge when cops retaliate against citizens for recording them, and falsifying his name. The obstruction charge was changed to resisting arrest.

“I never gave him my name,” Estrada said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime Wednesday.

After they arrested him, they discovered he had a warrant out of Broward County for an unpaid traffic ticket, which resulted in him remaining in jail for ten days.

Perhaps Estrada can report Valdez to internal affairs now that the unit’s lieutenant has been arrested on felony charges that he assisted drug traffickers, including plotting murders.

Estrada’s arrest took place in South-Dade, just down the street from where another Miami-Dade cop was arrested on DUI charges this week after he was accused of crashing his county car, injuring two little girls.

Call the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Public Information Officer, which is still run by Major Nancy Perez, who had me arrested in 2012, at  305-471-1900.

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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  • John H Johnson III

    This guy seemed like he was back far enough, hope he sues the shirts off of their backs

  • steveo

    Well, first, there is only one lawful order a leo can give to you and that is “you are under arrest”, everything else if you are lawfully present you can ignore. This citizen has the the right to peaceably assemble, which he did. He has the right to freely speak and record newsworthy events and record events that might lead to his right to due process. All of the leo’s concerns about officer safety are beyond the pale because they can’t just use “officer safety” to deny every constitutional right in the book.

  • Film The Police Always

    Hopefully this man will file a color of law complaint with the FBI He may had had a warrant for a ticket, but that would not have been known if it were NOT for the false arrest. He was legally filming and even complied to an illegal order, and was arrested for contempt of cop. He needs to do a search for 1st amendment lawyers (hell use Carlos’ Lawyer) and sue the shit out of them.

    • scar face

      You’re the troll using other users names. For what reason are you doing this for? In one comment, you did not sign in and accused yourself? So that males you the TROLL!

  • IcedTeaParty

    Once upon a time it was respectable to be a cop in America.

    That time is long past.

  • Liberaltarian

    “The obstruction charge was changed to resisting arrest.” The video clears him of obstruction. The video gets turned off after he’s arrested so he doesn’t have video evidence that he did not resist the arrest, which seems to have been completely without legal merit. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure in most states that an unlawful arrest is no defense to resisting arrest.

  • Guest

    What’s the name of the district attorney? Once again, the central and most important traitorous criminal is not even mentioned in the story.

    • RFalardeau

      Thank you! That is exactly right, if the DA would grow a pair and stop thinking about his conviction record and start protecting the public from these goons, there would be far more accountability. Most of the incidents here I attribute to poor leadership and poor DAs for not following through.

    • Carlos_Miller

      You are obviously not from here because the Miami-Dade State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, doesn’t give a shit about anybody’s rights.

      She had me prosecuted three times for taking pictures of cops, losing every single one of those battles.

      And she will never go after bad cops. When you hear of a bad cop being arrested, it’s usually after a federal investigation.

  • Rob

    First of all, that hysterical fat chick needs to drink a glass of calm the fuck down. Secondly, out of all of them, Estrada was interfering the least. It’s obvious he was arrested for filming the cop. Officer safety DOES NOT trump his 1st amendment right to film the police in public.

    • inquisitor

      These are latina chicks. The last thing they know how to do is keep their mouths shut never mind thinking rationally over being overly-emotional, frenetic and frantic.

  • LibertyEbbs

    Seeing this, I am going to be having a talk with my wife: if I am in handcuffs, please don’t say or do anything. If you must, walk away. If there is someone video and audio recording the encounter, please do not interfere or discourage them as that is the best protection I could have in that situation.

    The fiance did harm to her man with her histrionics and aided the police by preventing the photog from picking up most of the audio evidence.

    Also, the cop’s money quote: “You’re going to be arrested for … for … for … uh … ah.” Damn if that doesn’t say it all right there.

    • inquisitor

      Classic Miami.
      This is why I stay out of that place whenever possible.

      • scar face

        Miami, A sunny place for shady characters.

      • TheFlashingScotsman

        After the treatment my business got at the hands of Florida state regulators, I avoid the entire state at all cost.

  • billybob s

    ok, we’ve come up with a pretty good way to stop these cops in their tracks. before you stop taping them, state that it is being streamed. they then know that your vid is going somewhere, anywhere and that they can not destroy the evidence by grabbing the camera/laptop/video-audio recorder, others have and are already seeing it.
    best of course if you are actually streaming it.