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National Press Photographers Association, Inc.

The Society of Visual Journalists


1100 M&T Center 3 Fountain Plaza Buffalo, NY 14203 Phone: (716) 566-1484 Fax: (716) 608-1509 lawyer@nppa.org

VIA EMAIL & FACSIMILE JLoftus@mdpd.com (305.471.2163) April 20, 2012 Director James Loftus Miami-Dade Police Department 9105 NW 25th St. Doral, FL 33172 Re: Incident Involving Amrica TeVe News Crew

Dear Director Loftus, As general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) I have just been made aware of an incident involving a reporter and photojournalist from Amrica TeVe News. According to reports, they were covering police activity yesterday when they were ordered to turn off their camera by one of your officers. When reporter Ernesto Morales informed officer Thomas that they were within their rights to record, the officer retaliated by issuing them three (3) traffic citations. Given my previous letter of February 3, 2012, concerning the arrest of one of our members, Carlos Miller, while covering an Occupy Miami protest, I would have hoped that your officers would be more aware of First Amendment rights to record matters of public interest in a public place. While it may be understandable that your officer did not wish to be interviewed, the reasonable thing would have been to decline, not order the camera be turned off and certainly not to write uncalled for citations that had nothing to do with the incident and which have a chilling effect upon constitutionally protected rights. As previously stated NPPA stands ready to work with your department to help develop proper police-press guidelines and provide improved training in order to avoid similar situations. In the meantime please accept this letter as a formal complaint which needs to be fully investigated by your professional standards unit. We further request that your department immediately issue orders directing officers to cease such activity and also that your department implement revised training for all officers regarding these matters. Thank you for your attention in this matter. I look forward to your response. Very truly yours,

Mickey H. Osterreicher
Mickey H. Osterreicher General Counsel cc: Hon. Carlos A. Gimenz (via email) Sean Elliot, NPPA President (via email) Michael Koretzky, SPJ South Florida Chapter, President (via email) Ernesto Morales, Amrica TeVe (via email)