Posted on 21 January 2013 by Miami Cop Block
(VOD editor: I first made contact with photographer Carlos Miller in 2008, when I was assaulted by Michigan state troopers, arrested and eventually convicted because I took photos of the scene where two Black Detroiters died as a result of an illegal state trooper chase. Miller had been assaulted previously for photographing cops, and established a national website, “Photography is not a Crime.”)
Last night our good friend Carlos Miller was assaulted and given a 100FRN ransom note by 50 State Security employees on the platform and escalator of the Miami-Dade Metrorail.
While waiting for their train, Miller was giving his friend visiting from out of town some background on the area. After his friend took a picture of the nearby courthouse, they were first told via the speaker mounted on the platform, then in-person by hostile 50 State Security employees, that they were not allowed to film.
Miller rightly questioned where such a dictate stemmed from. His question was answered with force, as he was eventually tackled, choked, and handcuffed, by three men. His friend was taken as well.
Let the folks over at 50 State Security know your thoughts:
Tell those at the Miami-Dade Metrorail that they shouldn’t hire such thugs:
Connect with Miami Cop Block: Facebook.com/MiamiCopBlock
I was Attacked by Miami-Dade Metrorail Security Guards for Taking Photos and Shooting Video
By Carlos Miller at PhotographyIsNotACrime.com, originally published on Jan. 21st, 2013
I was attacked, choked, suffocated and handcuffed by 50 State security guards for shooting video on the Miami-Dade Metrorail Sunday night, escalating a pending state lawsuit into a possible federal suit.
As you will see in the above video, they tried to push me down the escalator and I shoved back in order to defend myself, which prompted at least three security guards to pounce on me, including one security guard named R. Myers who violently choked me to the point where I thought I was going to die.
I was video recording on my iPhone and my friend was recording on his camera. Both of us ended up handcuffed and detained until City of Miami and Miami-Dade police arrived, both who knew right away who I was.
We were released an hour later with a $100 citation accusing us of “producing loud or excessive noise,” which is a lie.
My friend, who is visiting from California, was taking a picture of the Dade County Courthouse as we were waiting for the southbound train to go back to my place.
I was taking a photo of him, taking a photo of the building for possibly uploading to Facebook. We were joking that it probably looked real gay, me kneeling in front of him as he took a photo.
I was taking a photo of my friend taking a photo of the Dade County Courthouse from the platform of the Miami-Dade Metrorail Government Center when we were ordered to stop through a loudspeaker.
We were not yelling or making any kind of noise.
A 50 State security guard announced on the loudspeaker to stop taking photos. He then came out to confront us. I switched my iPhone to video record and walked up to him.
He said it was illegal to photograph the rail portion of the train, which, of course, is complete hogwash. He then accused me of being drunk. I had three drinks in two hours while watching football and I am not a lightweight.
The photo my friend was taking
They then told me I had to leave the Metrorail because I was drunk and I refused because I had not done anything illegal. I just wanted to take the train home.
And I wasn’t drunk. He didn’t notice I had been drinking until he got close to me and he smelled something.
But as they started crowding me, I started walking towards the escalator.
At the top of the escalator, one of them shoved me hard as if to push me down the escalator, which is when I shoved back.
Then three of them piled on top of me, including one choking me where I couldn’t even breathe, leaving me gasping for air.
When R. Myer walked up to us, I was hoping he would de-escalate the situation but he escalated completely.
He is a tall black man who wears a USMC logo on his name badge. He was the one choking me. He wouldn’t have hesitated to kill me.
I can only imagine how many complaints he has had against him.
Surprisingly, they returned my phone and my friend’s camera to me as I was handcuffed, placing them in my pockets.
Miami-Dade police officer Luis Fernandez, who is familiar with this blog and agreed that Nancy Perez made a horrible witness, even made it a point to say they didn’t delete my footage.
Below is a video of my injuries. I am in a lot of pain right now. I would like to visit a hospital but I am way too tired and I don’t have insurance anyway.
Here is my friend’s account of the incident:
It’s tough to stand up for your constitutional rights. And it’s tough to stand up to authority.
I’m glad I have Carlos to do it for me – and that’s why I support him.
When I told people I was going to Miami to visit Carlos, one of my dearest friends, people joked about not bailing me out.
But I didn’t think twice when Carlos suggested taking the Metrorail after watching the Ravens game. And what’s the worst that could happen when at the Government Center station we walked to the end of the platform to take a photo of the art deco courthouse.
Things changed so quickly. A voice on the PA said something about stop taking pictures and a couple of security guards came. They immediately said we couldn’t take pictures of the rail and we had to leave. After some tense back and forth, Carlos slowly made his way to the escalator. Then the guards shoved him and started to try to put the cuffs on – as he stepped on to the escalator. They all tumbled to the metal steps toward me. Gutierrez stopped helping subdue Carlos, inexplicably to grab my camera. He knocked it out of my hands and it turned off. But I grabbed it and turned it back on to capture Myers with Carlos in a choke hold, Carlos’ shirt was ripped and his shoes were off.
Soon I was handcuffed and so was Carlos. I had never been in handcuffs before – and though the guards and the police were gentle with me – the cuffs still bruised my wrists and strained my back. I was really afraid of what was going to happen – and I was barely involved. But I felt guilty for just being there with Carlos. I felt guilty for taking photos in a public place in the land of the free and the home of the brave. And I was scared because I had been a witness to what happened – abuse of power under the color of the law. In the end, Carlos was assaulted – not because he broke any laws – but because he didn’t do what he was told. As if we were in an Eastern Bloc country during the Cold War.
When Perez finally heard the name of the founder of PhotographyIsNotaCrime.com, he repeated it like cuss words – “Carlos Miller.”
Of course they didn’t cite us for the crime of photography. Not for intoxication (which we weren’t) or even trespassing. But after more than an hour in cuffs, the Miami-Dade officers argued about the charge (speaking in Spanish sometimes) until deciding that we would be charged with being loud.