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MDP Letter 02-03-12

MDP Letter 02-03-12

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Published by: mikem2483 on Feb 03, 2012
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National Press Photographers Association, Inc.
The Society of Professional Photojournalists 
1100 M&T Center
3 Fountain PlazaBuffalo, NY 14203Phone: (716) 566-1484
Fax: (716) 608-1509lawyer@nppa.org 
VIA EMAIL & FACSIMILEJLoftus@mdpd.com(305.471.2163)
February 3, 2012Director James LoftusMiami-Dade Police Department9105 NW 25
St.Doral, FL 33172
 Re: Arrest of Carlos MillerCase # B12004076
Dear Director Loftus,As general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) I have just beenmade aware of an arrest of one of our members, Carlos Miller, on Tuesday night, January 31, 2012 atapproximately 10:00 pm near the intersection of NW 3
Avenue and West Flagler Street. Mr. Miller is a journalist who was covering the Occupy Miami movement events that night for Miami Beach 411,where he is also a senior editor.Mr. Miller has been reporting on the Occupy Miami movement since itbeganand has a longrunning blog – Photography is Not a Crime, which alsopublished this story. Mr. Miller works tirelesslyto point out to his reader that, as the title states, the act of taking pictures or recording in public is notagainst the law; but he also makes every effort to highlight police officers who conduct themselvesproperly as he did in astorypublished on October 30, 2011.Although there were many other media members present on the night in question, we believe hewas the only one of them arrested. What is also disturbing is that he was charged with a single count of violating Florida Criminal Procedure and Corrections Law § 843.02
Resisting officer without violenceto his or her person. Aside from a blatant violation of Mr. Miller’s First Amendment rights to recordmatters of public interest in a public place we do not understand how, absent some other underlyingcharge for which there was probable cause, a charge of resisting arrest can stand on its own?While it may be understandable that your officers had a heightened sense of awareness due to thenature of the circumstances surrounding that night, it is still no excuse for them to not recognize a journalist’s right to take photographs/record video of an event occurring on a public street. In additionto the arrest, the fact that Mr. Miller’s cameras was unlawfully seized and while it was in police custodyan attempt was made to delete Mr. Miller’s recordings of the arrest are also extremely troubling. Webelieve that the recovered video of the incident will show that officers acted outside of their authority, inviolation of the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution as well asthe Privacy Protection Act of 1980 and similar protections provided by Florida law.

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