Miami Police vs. Civil Liberties – and Guess Who’s Winning?

Just when you think the photographers’ rights issue is dying down a bit because surely — surely! — police departments realize it’s a losing battle considering the ubiquity of cameras, you realize that’s just not the case at all.

In fact, as the Miami New Times reports, it’s “quickly becoming the most hotly contested corner of American civil liberties law.” The paper recounts the story of two Miami residents, Robert Hammonds and Brent Bredwell, who’ve had multiple run-ins with Miami police, resulting in detainments, tickets, jail time, lawyer fees and countless headaches.

Miami Police Department officers, meanwhile, say they only arrest camera-toting civilians like Hammonds when they harass cops. “When you go beyond filming to trying to piss off an officer, you’re subject to arrest,” says Delrish Moss, a department spokesman.

Er, how do I say this without my head exploding? Wrong, wrong, wrong! (But also so illuminating.) There is no law on the books that says you can be arrested for pissing off a police officer. But that’s clearly been the impetus for so many of the incidents we’ve posted on over the years.

Anyway, you have to read this article and hear what Hammonds and Bredwell have been through — including having their video camera confiscated and then, when they showed up at the station to retrieve it, bringing along cameras to film it all, Hammonds was arrested again for “obstruction of justice.” The Miami Beach police even created a “safety” bulletin warning other officers about these extremely dangerous individuals. The flyer, they believe, had a big part in the friends (two more have also been involved) being detained half a dozen times in the ensuing months.

Wow. How is this the US of A? If the ACLU ever had a case, it is here.

Hammonds and Bredwell are working on a documentary project called Man Vs. Pig (see the trailer above), and you can read more at their IndieGoGo site.

Source: Miami New Times

10 Responses to “Miami Police vs. Civil Liberties – and Guess Who’s Winning?”

  1. 1 Jail Nation July 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    For whatever reasons we do not seem to be having as much problems in the Midwest with many police departments openly admitting that it is legal to film police.

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  1. 1 Cops vs. cameras: filming cops illegal – Miami New Times | The Click Trackback on January 26, 2011 at 8:42 pm

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