I am a Miami-based writer, reporter, photojournalist and videographer who operates Magic City Media (the website is going through a dramatic redesign, so please forgive its amateurish appearance.)
I’ve been a professional journalist for more than ten years, spending the bulk of my career writing for daily newspapers in the Southwest, including The Arizona Republic, the San Bernardino Sun, the Tucson Citizen and the Las Cruces Sun-News.
I’ve also been a freelance journalist in Europe, Arizona and New Mexico before returning to my hometown, Miami, and launching my company.
On February 20th, 2007, I was arrested by Miami police after taking photos of them against their wishes. The incident occurred just after 7 p.m. at Biscayne Blvd and 67th Street. The five officers were standing inside a construction zone that was closed off to traffic because of an ongoing road construction project. I was standing inside the same construction zone, about a half-block from the officers.
When the officers spotted me, they ordered me to keep walking as this was a “private matter”. When I reminded them that this was “public road”, the officers abandoned the investigation to deal with me.
After one of them escorted me across the street, they ordered me to continue walking away from the scene of the investigation. When I refused and continued to take their photo, they tackled me and bashed my head against the pavement, breaking a $400 camera flash and threatening to shoot me with a taser gun.
I ended up spending 16 hours in the county jail on nine misdemeanor counts, the main charge being that I was standing in the middle of the street taking photos obstructing traffic.
However, if you look at the picture I took seconds before they arrested me, you can the street behind the officers.
I pleaded not guilty and I’m now preparing to go to trial. I initially started this blog to document my case as it progresses because it gained a momentous amount of interest through the Internet.
But considering that First Amendment violations against photographers and journalists are so widespread, I ended up using this blog to document every case that comes to my attention.
These cases should not only be of interest to photographers and journalists, but to every person living in the United States. After all, Freedom of Expression is the one right we should never relinquish.2