Carlos Miller, the Miami photojournalist behind the blog Photography Is Not a Crime, has been acquitted of disobeying a police order while covering an Occupy protest in that city. This is the third time he’s been arrested and acquitted on similar charges for photographing the police doing their jobs. His attorney made a powerful argument:
“In this country, when you’re a journalist, your job is to investigate.
Not to be led by your hand where the police want you to see, so they can hide what they don’t want you to see.
No, when you’re a journalist, a real journalist, it’s your job to go find the truth. As long as you are acting within the law as Mr. Miller was, you have the right to demand and say, ‘no, I’m not moving, I have the right to be here. This is a public sidewalk, I have the right to be here.’
He did his job. He has the right to do his job the way he sees fit. It’s not up to these prosecutors to tell anybody, much less an independent journalist, how to do their job. It’s not up to the police officers, it’s not up to a judge or the president.
In this country, journalists do their job the way they see fit.
What’s he describing is Cuba. What he’s describing is a communist country. The government says you can’t be here because I say you can’t be here.
And it’s infuriating to me that a prosecutor would try to get up here and try to convince you that just because a police officer says something, that he has to bow his head and walk away.
That is a disgrace to the Constitution of this country.”
Miller was the only one arrested that night, even though several other journalists were there on the same sidewalk. And one of those other journalists testified for him at the trial, saying that he was doing nothing differently than they all were doing.
As reported before, the local police actually sent out an email with Carlos’ picture in it, calling him a troublemaker, so officers could look out for him. It’s the third time they’ve done this and the third time they’ve lost. You’d think they’d give up by now.