Carlos Miller, the Miami photojournalist who was arrested by the Homeland Security division of the Miami-Dade Police Department for filming them as they evicted a group of Occupy protesters from a park in the area, reveals newly released documents that show the department was targeting him for arrest before the event ever took place.
Before the police moved in to evict the protesters, this email was sent to the officers about Miller:
Carlos Miller is a Miami multimedia journalist who has been arrested twice for taking pictures of law enforcement. He has publicly posted on social networks that he will be taking pictures today in order to document the eviction.
Which means they were monitoring his Facebook page, which is public. But why did they single him out? There were lots of news outlets recording what was going on. He was the only one arrested, though he wasn’t doing anything any different from the others. They also tried to delete the video, but he managed to recover it. You can watch the full video here, which shows that Miller was doing nothing illegal at all. He is fighting it in court.
Mickey Osterreicher, an attorney for the National Press Photographers Association, sent a letter to the police chief saying:
I find it very troubling that a unit formed to deal with terrorist activities found it necessary to send out an email advising other departments and law enforcement officers that a journalist would be covering a newsworthy matter of public concern,” he wrote in an email after I sent him a copy of the email in question.
“It would be best if they followed their own directives that photography is a First Amendment protected activity and ‘should not be reported absent articulable facts and circumstances that support the suspicion that the behavior observed is not innocent . . . but rather reasonably indicative of criminal activity associated with terrorism or other crimes.’
“Unfortunately it appears that by their very actions they continue sustain the misguided belief that by its very nature photography is a crime. At best – behavior that chills free speech is extremely unprofessional – at worst it is criminal.”
Criminal is exactly what it is. And unconstitutional. Carlos Miller is going to be the guest on my radio show next week, so tune in to hear the full story.