PetaPixel

Photographer Forcefully Arrested After Shooting on Metrorail Platform

Photographer, blogger, and photographers rights’ activist Carlos Miller has made headlines quite a few times over the past few years with his legal rumbles with authorities over photography in public places. Miller, who often instigates the disputes for the purpose of bringing photographers’ rights into the spotlight, recently had another big confrontation with authorities in Miami (it’s not the first time it has happened).

The video above is Miller’s documentation of the incident. He says he was “attacked, choked, suffocated and handcuffed by 50 State security guards” for shooting photos and video on the Miami-Dade Metro rail this past Sunday night.

According to Miller, his friend was photographing Dade County Courthouse from the rail platform and he was photographing his friend. Here are the photos that they shot:

carlosmiller

Miller says that they were spotted by a security guard and warned over a loudspeaker to stop shooting photographs. When they didn’t put their cameras away, security guards arrived to confront them. Miller then started recording footage with his phone, which resulted in the video above.

Here’s Miller’s account of how the alleged assault went down:

[The security guard] said it was illegal to photograph the rail portion of the train, which, of course, is complete hogwash. He then accused me of being drunk. I had three drinks in two hours while watching football and I am not a lightweight. They then told me I had to leave the Metrorail because I was drunk and I refused because I had not done anything illegal. I just wanted to take the train home. And I wasn’t drunk. He didn’t notice I had been drinking until he got close to me and he smelled something.

But as they started crowding me, I started walking towards the escalator. At the top of the escalator, one of them shoved me hard as if to push me down the escalator, which is when I shoved back. Then three of them piled on top of me, including one choking me where I couldn’t even breathe, leaving me gasping for air. When R. Myer walked up to us, I was hoping he would de-escalate the situation but he escalated completely. He is a tall black man who wears a USMC logo on his name badge. He was the one choking me. He wouldn’t have hesitated to kill me.

The two were handcuffed and detained for an hour until actual police officers arrived on the scene. The officers recognized Miller from previous confrontations. Miller and his friend were then released with a $100 citation for “producing loud or excessive noise.”

After arriving home, Miller shot this video to show the extent of the injuries he claims to have received at the hands of the guards:

Miller says that he is considering escalate his pending state lawsuit into a federal lawsuit. You can read his full account of what transpired over on his blog.

I was Attacked by Miami-Dade Metrorail Security Guards for Taking Photos and Shooting Video [Photography is Not a Crime]


 
  • DavidC

    You ask to be hit you get hit. Sorry but this assh*le is part of the reason photographers have a bad rap.

    If security or a cop says I cannot photograph anything I say “technically your are incorrect but I will stop photographing it because you have asked. If you check out the laws, I am in the right. Thank you”

    What is a cop suppose to do with someone pushing his buttons and smells of alcohol?

  • http://twitter.com/_photostorys PhotoStorys

    Sue the scumbags.

  • r3drox

    America!! Land of the free…..

  • Samuel

    This is stupid, listening to him i thought he sounded drunk from the get go, I believe when he says he wasn’t but you are going to get nothing done smelling of beer and causing a problem.

    Should you be allowed to photograph anywhere public ? Yes
    Is this the way to achieve that goal ? Absolutely not.

  • jj

    This attitude gives photographers everywhere a bad name, why provoke security guards that are just doing their job, even if they are being a bit overzealous! It achieves nothing.

  • Samuel

    Exactly, there is some spurious by-law against shooting on the metro system in my city, 99% of the time no one cares and no one can be arsed to enforce it, the other 1% I tell them i have every right to do so but stop anyway.

    If there is something that you *need* to photograph in an area where security guards are idiots about enforcing the rules then just do it casually and get the shot, if someone tells you not to apologise and pretend you had no idea.

    That way everyone wins, you get your shot and no one get a chance to wrestle you to the ground for being intoxicated and an arrogant dick.

  • http://twitter.com/UncleArty1 Uncle Arty

    so even though taking pictures or filming isn’t illegal, you will not stand up for your rights? But the people who do are the assh*les? sounds to me you’re just a p*ssy

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.webb Andrew Webb

    Being a dick is not the same as breaking the law. If you could arrest someone for being a dick, *everyone* would be in jail. He was within his rights, and they should have left him alone. It’s not a matter of whether or not it’s all pleasant and a successful shoot—it’s about making the public and the authorities aware that cops and security guards are breaking the laws.

  • http://twitter.com/UncleArty1 Uncle Arty

    And those assh*les aren’t cops they are security guards they have no more authority to make arrests than a citizen does. And just because Metro wrote a policy against filming the tracks doesn’t make filming the tracks against the law.

  • Samuel

    If not wanting to be in a choke hold after being pushed down an escalator makes someone a pussy then i better have an badge made up confirming my new found identity.

  • http://www.jbphotographic.co.uk/ Jamie Barlow

    lol! How can you trespass at an open metro-station? Ridiculous. OK, Miller seems to have gone out to prove a point (and point proven) but still, the security guards exceeded their authority imho.

    I also find it strange then when an officer/guard says “photographic is illegal” and they’re challenged with “Under what law?” they suddenly seem to forget. Fair’s fair and if we have to answer their questions they should truthfully and fully answer our’s too.

    In that case, I am siding with Miller.

  • sean lancaster

    When security officers with little training and no official capacity with regard to the law are misinformed and ignorant then their ignorance should be called into question.

  • sean lancaster

    That’s the thing that is most troubling . . . the security guard lied about the law and when questioned he seemed to realize that his B.S. was called into question and suddenly became more interested in escalating a situation than in admitting that he was wrong and walking away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trausti-Hraunfjord/100000966675892 Trausti Hraunfjörð

    Those of you who don’t know: This is what fascism looks like.

  • pvbella

    I had a similar situation a few weeks ago with a club bouncer while shooting on a sidewalk. I just told him to go eff his mother. I am not an agitator but no private person is going to tell me what I can shoot in a public place. Police I listen to. Bouncers and security guards in public spaces never.

  • Mansgame

    Sure he’s kind of a jerk for instigating these things, but I’m glad he’s doing it.

  • http://www.dan-vidal.com/ Pod

    Security guards are private citizens and have no authority to enforce the law. The motto of the security guard is “observe and report”. That’s all they should have done, and called the real cops who then could (hopefully) have made a sound judgement with regards to Carlos. Now, this happened in Miami (I live here as well), those guards are damn lucky they didn’t get shot. And whomever shot them would have been in the right under Florida law, since they acted in an aggressive and threatening manner, while being under arms. I don’t know, I’d probably want to defend myself too if two guys with guns came at me.

  • joel cleare

    These dirtbags give photographers a bad name. They are not helping future photographers.

  • tertius_decimus

    Fact that you have camera doesn’t make you free to be a bully.
    Fact that you have security badge doesn’t allow you to be a bully as well.

    Ask yourself why both photographer and security guard have bad reputation. It will be clear enough.

  • DavidC

    But he did not want to be left alone. He sought this out. And he had been drinking.

  • lidocaineus

    So if a cop says “You can’t walk on the sidewalk,” you just say, “Oh, sorry,” and walk on the street?

    You can stand up for your rights without being a dick. But even if you ARE a dick, if you’re not doing anything illegal, you cannot be detained, and smelling of alcohol isn’t illegal. Not to mention these aren’t even cops!

  • lidocaineus

    And you’re making it worse by making it seem like the guards were justified in any way.

  • http://twitter.com/Jet5tar Chris Lyn

    And this is why most of the world hates the USA. You can freely walk around carrying guns, but to hell with you if you carry around a camera.

  • Bill Magee

    I find the entire incident highly suspect. Here’s a dude (who just happens to be wearing a shirt proclaiming photography is not a crime) who has an current lawsuit with this security company concerning a previous incident. That’s a pretty tall building, I find it hard to believe that he could not take his photos from another vantage point. Here’s a thought, If you have had problems taking photos at a place, take your photos somewhere else!

    This isn’t about rights or legal boundaries, this is about common sense.
    You will never meet a cop that will say, “Oh, you know you’re right.
    My mistake, please proceed.” If they tell you to stop, just stop and go
    find somewhere else to take photos.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andres.trujillo.94064 Andres Trujillo

    JJ, they were not doing their job, they were (illegally) stoping people to enforce their rights. That’s what Carlos tries to bring accross, the problem I see here is that when questioned, the security guards got really aggressive. But Carlos likes to antagonize them so 9 out of 10 times, he gets his butt kicked, and then complaints on his website

  • Bob

    If that was to happen to me, I would find each one of them, where they live & break their legs one by one with a few of my mates. They would never in a million years get away with that….God that has wound me up!!

  • junyo

    I invite you to test that hypothesis in any major city in the US.

  • Aunt_Flo

    Good idea.

  • Aunt_Flo

    Exactly. Shame on those who think we should voluntarily give up our rights to avoid confrontation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mario.guilherme Mário Guilherme

    Fuckin’ assholes.

  • G

    Tried taking photos at a train station in the UK? Seen the laws about shooting people in public in France?..

  • Bill

    So I have a problem with this!

    I have no problem and fully support anyone to stand up for their rights, but how he went to do it was purely asinine.
    First off, never go out to instigate a situation, especially after you have been drinking. You done lost all you credibility at that point.
    Second, if you go out looking for a fight, chances are your gonna find one, doesn’t mean your in the right.
    Third, I do believe that public train tracks/metro rails or what ever they are called do fall under “private Property” with public access. Basically, if asked not to take photos or video, you are obligated to do so, at least while on that property. Doesn’t mean you can’t take the same photos fro off the property where they cannot do anything. At that point you would have a completely valid point to your confrontation.

    Fourth and final, don’t be a DICK about it. If your shooting photos where you probably shouldn’t be, be up front about it and ask, you may be surprised to find out that they may let you.
    I think this guy did all this to try to enhance his case against the metro-Dade agency, that’s all.

  • slapping your face

    I think you have a short sided glimpse of what USA is. We don’t all carry guns like the news media would have you think. Everybody hates the USA until they need help and all of a sudden we are their best friend, until they tell us to get out, then we are right back to square 1. my 2¢

  • Swade

    You cannot “freely walk around carrying guns” in the USA. You can get a concealed carry permit which allows you to carry a gun, but not in the open. You can carry a camera wherever you want. A metro station may not be public property. I’m not sure why there would be security guards in a public area. Another person who is extremely ignorant of US laws.

  • question

    Does it say that this metro station is public property?

  • http://twitter.com/BillPSmith Bill Smith

    It would be nice to see the whole story. I’ve seen Miller’s provocations, before, and it does seem that he looks for trouble. On the other hand, if he is completely innocent, then those security men need some education on photographers’ rights.

  • http://twitter.com/kashapero Ken Akiva Shapero

    Really, the guy is an assh#$#loe. Rule number one you never ever push a policeman. He is lucky he did not suffer serious injuries. Alsohas someone not told him we already live in a police state.

  • lhardy

    If the law has not been broken? Absolutely nothing you imbecile.

  • lhardy

    Drinking is not illegal.

  • lhardy

    BS. You lose.
    You lose your rights and freedoms as they are denied to you by a force with greater authority than you. That is not freedom but facism.

    To your logic there is no reason for us tho adress bullying in the school systems.
    You’re a perfect little sheep.

  • sean lancaster

    There were no police in the video.

  • Davis

    That depends on the town/city.. But usually “brandishing” is considered a threat and will get you taken down VERY quickly.. Even if you are in your right to open carry.

  • Samuel

    What a ridiculous line of reasoning, i’ve never heard of a photog killing themselves because they weren’t allowed to photograph a metro station, in fact i haven’t seen any evidence of a photographer being personally insulted and hated for what they do. Comparing bullying to this story has completely destroyed my faith in your sense but i digress.

    Not wanting to be wrestled to the ground is in no way rolling over to the “authorities” its a reasonable decision. These guidelines, rules, things they enforce, however misguided are there for a reason, i’m not saying its a good reason nor am i saying they shouldn’t be changed but fronting up to a security guard is not gonna achieve this, they have a job and are doing what they are told albeit heavy handedly which i see as more of a problem than not being able to take pictures.

    Hundreds of people turning up at these places and taking photos is a line of argument that is both effective and non confrontational there is at least 3 places i know of that revised or revoked their “No unauthorised photography” rules because of that exact course of action.

    Surprisingly little in history has been achieved by drinking beer and deliberately provoking poorly trained security guards, if you think this is fascism you need to re-read your history books.

  • RJ

    Was he within his rights? Yes. But he has been drinking and he is recording the officers… is that not a clear sign he is expecting and LOOKING for a fight? Maybe I’m assuming to much here but it just seems like he is going out of his way to get into trouble. (Not to mention it looks as though he is leaning back, albeit only slightly, over the edge of to get a photo)

  • http://www.facebook.com/igor.kennn Igor Ken

    He probably was just drunk as f%&k, just saying.

    Look at how many time he denies it in the citation of his words. I mean this is classical denial by the book.

    So don’t be too harsh on the laws, I know some people are real jerks to street photographers, but this guy looks like the attention fisher that provokes guards to get some harassment from them and then sing about it on his photography rights blog.

    This guy is not a hero. He seeks this kind of attention in order to get the authorities to change something, but this is VERY unethical of him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/igor.kennn Igor Ken

    after watching the video, maybe they went way too harsh on him, but he DID gave them that certain attitude … so I don’t know, who is to blame? the guards are just regular people. I bet you would wanna slap him too if he talked to you in that way!

  • lhardy

    He was not rolling on the ground until security began assaulting him and violating the laws of our country.
    My reasoning and logic are sound.
    What you may fail to see? Is the individual right and freedom from a police state.

    Your solution is to protest en-mass.
    Which is good for some activism. Such as millions marching on Washington DC demanding the 2nd amendment be upheld.
    Yet the SCOTUS has made it clear that the actions taken by the metro security are a violation of individual civil liberties. All LEO know this as well and many of them are guilty of the same civil rights violations.
    This is not a new issue. Only a more progressive and militaristic one. Which has lead us to our current police state.

    Answer this -
    What criminal act was the photog guilty of?

    If none? Then the actions taken by the security detail is acting in a fascist manner.
    Heinrich Himmler and Hitler himself can confirm my belief as to why these are fascist actions. These and many other actions being taken by this current government in the United States.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DanielGBallard Dan Ballard

    Not really true at all. But I understand your frustration

  • http://www.facebook.com/DanielGBallard Dan Ballard

    They have no legal obligation to answer anything. Unfortunately. They can even lie to entrap you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DanielGBallard Dan Ballard

    I think we need a different term than “shooting” these days. Kind of like “enlarging” rather than “blow up”. :-)