If you don’t already know who Carlos Miller is, you should. You are more free because Miller won’t let newsgathering and photography die under the wheels of a paranoid nation, shrieking with fear at imaginary terrorists, and hiring policies in police departments that seem to favor people with personality disorders that would make Eric Cartman blush.
Miller’s crusade began a few years ago, when he photographed some Miami-Dade officers standing around on the street. Arrested for his “crime,” Miller beat the rap. Then, he did it again, and was convicted, but won his case on appeal, despite representing himself. (source). Since then, Miller has refused to back down when challenged by police officers, TSA Agents, and rent-a-cops who think that they are above the law. He recently beat another charge, over dishonest testimony by the Miami-Dade cops. (source)
Anyone with even a half a brain knows that Miller’s conduct is legal. However, as his case requiring an appeal shows us, judges don’t aways give a shit about the law. And, when a judge and a prosecutor team up to spank a citizen for not respecting authority, that citizen can face serious repercussions. Miller faced incarceration and financial ruin, and does again and again, when he refuses to back down in the face of a pig screaming “respect my authoritah.”
Do you have balls that big?
Last night, Miller was at it again. Taking pictures. For this “crime,” a bunch of gutter swine decided that it was time to punish him. He has a history with “50 state security.” He is involved in a lawsuit against them for violating his rights. Funny enough, they decided to rough him up last night.
As a First Amendment lawyer, I occasionally get mail from people saying really nice things about what I do. I stick up for the Constitution. I stick up for people whose rights have been violated. But, I do so in a pretty cushy way. Yeah, I wind up not getting paid for my work a lot of times, since I can’t turn down a good First Amendment story. Sometimes I even get threatened by opposing counsel when I outclass them in terms of professionalism and ability. Sometimes, I agree to help someone on a pro bono basis, and they turn on me because they want to prove that no good deed goes unpunished. Back in 2006 or so, I had a redneck display a gun to me, to warn me that representing a “dirty bookstore” in his town ran afoul of his christian principles. I have gotten my share of threatening phone calls and emails.
But, I’ve never been locked in handcuffs for the First Amendment.
I’ve never faced financial ruin and imprisonment for the cause.
I’ve never shed actual blood for it.
Miller has done all of the above.
Because someone has to.
Someone has to say “no” to the flunkies and the petty little tyrants who incrementally chip away at our liberties. Someone has to have the courage to put his liberty and his personal safety on the line. That someone is Carlos Miller.
And Carlos Miller is my hero. He should be yours too.
Well said. From one photographer to another: Thank you Carlos!
By the way: Carlos’ site is down as I write this. I hope it’s because he’s getting a lot of traffic this morning, not because someone in a position of authoritay is trying to teach him another lesson.
When I spent a night in jail, primarily as a consequence of self-publishing a newspaper in a small town, and was threatened with a charge carrying up to a 10-year sentence, I discovered the limits of my personal willingness to fight city hall. When the town ultimately offered to drop their remaining charges in exchange for me signing an agreement to sell my house and relocate outside of an area surrounding the town (about 30 miles in radius) I moved, and was happy to do so.
Yes, I admire Carlos Miller very much. I could not do what he is doing.
Wow, what state allows a small town to prosecute 10 year felonies?!
First Amendment Beast. Much respect.
Carlos is definitely “the man”. He’s one of the few people I know who realises that things like this are an affront to what’s left of human decency these days.
Question, and obviously I won’t take this as legal advice since I’m not requesting legal counsel :)
The security guards are private citizens, albiet with little cards that say they can carry a certain type of weapon openly (read the docs on myflorida.com) while in the course of their job. However, they are still private citizens, not true law enforcement officers.
The Metrorail is public property. On public property, if armed men who aren’t police officers are rushing me, I would be pretty scared. Scared enough to “stand my ground”, ya dig?
Hypothetical question. I am in no way condoning harming these guys, but just throwing it out there.
FYI, the unofficial motto of security guards is, in fact, “Observe and Report”, not “Observe and Intimidate”.
As a Dade county resident, I have written to all the appropriate county officials expressing that I fear that the Metrorails are unsafe with current security and linking them to the video. Thanks for the tip, Marc!
If anyone else is interested:
Director of Miami-Dade County Transit: email@example.com
Miami-Dade County Commissioner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask the state to rescind their license to carry a firearm as a security guard: http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/contacts/filecomplaint.html
Check off the box for “Class A” so 50 State is targeted. If they lose their “Class A” they can’t legitimately operate as a security company.
[…] Carlos Miller has been a First Amendment Champion for years. He has been unlawfully arrested multiple times for filming and photographing police activity and other happenings in public areas. Marc Randazza alerts us to the latest injustice involving Carlos Miller. […]
I’m sorry, but if he doesn’t do this with an arm stuck down a bear’s throat, well, it’s just not very fucking impressive.
Best comment ever!
Technically, you are correct. But this is only because he lives and travels in areas devoid of bears. I have no doubt that if a bear were involved, he’d subdue it with a spare arm and continue business as usual.
Then either we must move Carlos to the bears, or the bears to Carlos. Regardless, this current state of affairs must not stand.
Since Carlos is in Miami, we should at least be able to get him to take on a couple of alligators. In lieu of bears, gators should be a perfectly acceptable substitute.
Yeah, but he’s got pix, so we know it really happened.
[…] was prosecuted, or the guy in whose case the judge texted the prosecutor questions to ask, or the man who refuses to give up his First Amendment rights and keeps getting arrested or the inmate who loses his appeal because his lawyer didn’t file […]
[…] Carlos’s latest ordeal has already been written about by Scott Greenfield and Marco Randazza. […]
thank you Carlos. I wish all of us were as brave. then we wouldn’t have the same problem
Awesome guy… I just hit the DONATE button and others should too!
[…] Carlos Miller – First Amendment Hero (randazza.wordpress.com) […]
“Despite a directive issued more than a year ago by Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey that officers could be videotaped legally while performing their jobs, the Police Department last week was hit with the first of several federal lawsuits by a rights group that contends officers have intimidated and arrested people who tried to videotape them.”
I just sent Carlos $100.
[…] prosecuted, or the guy in whose case the judge texted the prosecutor questions to ask, or the man who refuses to give up his First Amendment rights and keeps getting arrested or the inmate who loses his appeal because his lawyer didn’t file […]