A photo journalist covering the eviction of Occupy Miami protesters from a park recently was arrested and the video footage he captured deleted. But Carlos Miller was able to recover the deleted videos, which he accuses police of removing, including one showing his arrest. Now he's protesting that arrest with the support of press advocates.
Miller is well-known as a photo journalism advocate. His blog Photography Is Not a Crime has allowed him to "[document] some of the most absurd cases against photographers over the last few years." The Blaze has linked to several of his stories in the past, which have facilitated discussion about the rights of citizens to film police.
Ars Technica reports that Miller was moved along with a few protesters and journalists by law enforcement down a road away from the park. He then took a different route to reach his car and encountered a second wave of officers. Seeing they weren't arresting other journalists around him, Miller continued toward them in the direction of his vehicle. At that point, he was placed under arrest.
This video footage, which Miller said was at one point deleted from his camera without his permission, shows the moments of his arrest:
Miller explains that releasing this video is his "first step in not only clearing my name, but in exposing how police media spokeswoman Nancy Perez singled me out from the rest of the media." Miller calls it a "major blunder" that Perez (the female officer in the video above) arrested him while letting other journalists walk by.
Here is some of Miller's play-by-play of the video:
AT :23 seconds into the video, you will seen a group of Miami-Dade cops walking past me, ensuring that all the activists had been dispersed. None appeared concerned with presence.
At :43, you will see Miami Herald reporter Glenn Garvin in a white beard and glasses talking on the phone as he walks toward me on the sidewalk. He also witnessed my arrest, but did not know my name. He mentioned it in the fifth paragraph of this story.
At :47, you will see Perez who had just allowed the above-mentioned videographer in white shorts walk past her without stopping him. You will also see two more television news videographers behind her.
At :51, you will also see another television news videographer crouching down behind her video recording the marching cops from a low angle.
At :51, you will also see her step in front of me to detain me.
Miller states that he told Perez he was only headed back to his car, to which she replied: "No, it doesn't work that way" and says that he has refused the cops' dispersal request. Miller writes that even as police were taking his cameras and searching him, he was not resistant, but Perez still said: "We don't want to hurt you:"
They are pulling the strap hard against my neck, so I tell them they don’t have to choke me, that they can do all this a little easier.
At 1:39, you can see my right hand extended at my side, showing no signs of aggression or resistance.
At 1:40, I point out to the arresting officers and the officer with the camera that “I am being cooperative” because I really feared they would use any excuse to beat me into submission.
In a separate post about his arrest, Miller states that the park was mainly evacuated except for six activists who stayed behind in protest. He says that police had put most of the media behind yellow tape, but some -- including Miller -- stayed in the park with the remaining protesters. It was at this point that the police began marching toward them, shuffling them down the road that led Miller to try an alternate route back to his car, before he was arrested. Miller says he asked authorities if he would be allowed to walk to his car but did not get a response. Miller did identify himself as a member of the press to Perez at the time. He says he asked about the other journalists who were not being arrested and did not receive an answer. (Read a more detailed account from Miller's perspective of how he tried to reach his car here.)
As of right now, Miller says his camera is being reviewed by forensic specialists who will determine the exact time footage was deleted, to show whether or not it was removed while he was in custody. Miller will not only be seeking to clear himself of the charge of resisting arrest, but will also be filing a complaint over the deleted footage.
Ars Technica reports that Mickey Osterreicher, who is legal council for the National Press Photographers Association of which Miller is a member, is protesting the arrest saying it violated several of his constitutional rights:
"Aside from a blatant violation of Mr. Miller’s First Amendment rights to record matters of public interest in a public place," Osterreicher wrote, "we do not understand how, absent some other underlying charge for which there was probable cause, a charge of resisting arrest can stand on its own?"
"We believe that the recovered video of the incident will show that officers acted outside of their authority, in violation of the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution as well as the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 and similar protections provided by Florida law," he wrote.
Miller says that in addition to full recovery of his footage and dating its time of deletion, he will also be seeking out the video recorded by Miami police as well as that from another journalist on the scene.