An open letter to Wackenhut Chairman and CEO Gary A. Sanders

On May 1st, 2007, a Wackenhut security guard violated my First Amendment rights by denying me the right to take photos from the platform of a Metromover station in downtown Miami.

I am a photojournalist who was photographing the immigration rally marching through downtown that afternoon. A little after 6 p.m., I climbed to the second level of the Arena/State Plaza Station in order to photograph the marchers below.

I was immediately accosted by a uniformed Wackenhut security guard with the name “Perez” on his name tag and a Puerto Rican flag key chain dangling from his pants pocket. Perez told me that in absolutely no circumstances would I be allowed to take photos from the Metromover station.

Wackenhut

When I asked him why, he said “because I said so.”

When I demanded a more legitimate reason, he said it was because his superiors told him not to allow anyone to photograph from the Metromover platform.

So apparently, Mr Perez’s misunderstanding of basic constitutional rights stems from Wackenhut’s upper management, which is not surprising considering this is not the first time I’ve had a Wackenhut security guard forbid me from taking photos in public.

Perhaps before they don a uniform and firearm and interact with the public, Wackenhut security guards should be required to read and sign this document on basic photographers’ rights. Perhaps Wackenhut’s upper management might gain some enlightenment from this document.

In a nutshell, photographers are allowed to photograph anything from a public street, park, sidewalk and even public transportation station. And this means anyone carrying a camera, not just members of the media.

Mr. Perez objected to having his photo taken, telling me, “I did not give you permission to photograph me”. Again, if we are both standing in public, I have every right to photograph him. But in all honesty, I would have never photographed him had he not accosted me.

Now the usual response to the crackdown on photographers’ rights is that “9/11 changed everything”. But it hasn’t changed the First Amendment. At least not yet.

So until it does, I will continue photographing from public structures regardless of what Wackenhut security guards tell me. And I will continue photographing these guards and demanding a legitimate reason for their orders.

And I will continue documenting these instances with name, date, time and photo to show the world that these are not isolated instances, but, in fact, regular abuses of power.

After all, if there is anything sacred in this country, it is the Freedom of Expression, as you can see from the photos below.

_mg_6714.jpg

_mg_1305.jpg

_mg_6561.jpg

_mg_6609.jpg

_mg_6813.jpg

_mg_6946.jpg


More photos from Miami immigration rally
127

- Advertisement -

On May 1st, 2007, a Wackenhut security guard violated my First Amendment rights by denying me the right to take photos from the platform of a Metromover station in downtown Miami.

I am a photojournalist who was photographing the immigration rally marching through downtown that afternoon. A little after 6 p.m., I climbed to the second level of the Arena/State Plaza Station in order to photograph the marchers below.

I was immediately accosted by a uniformed Wackenhut security guard with the name “Perez” on his name tag and a Puerto Rican flag key chain dangling from his pants pocket. Perez told me that in absolutely no circumstances would I be allowed to take photos from the Metromover station.

Wackenhut

When I asked him why, he said “because I said so.”

When I demanded a more legitimate reason, he said it was because his superiors told him not to allow anyone to photograph from the Metromover platform.

So apparently, Mr Perez’s misunderstanding of basic constitutional rights stems from Wackenhut’s upper management, which is not surprising considering this is not the first time I’ve had a Wackenhut security guard forbid me from taking photos in public.

Perhaps before they don a uniform and firearm and interact with the public, Wackenhut security guards should be required to read and sign this document on basic photographers’ rights. Perhaps Wackenhut’s upper management might gain some enlightenment from this document.

In a nutshell, photographers are allowed to photograph anything from a public street, park, sidewalk and even public transportation station. And this means anyone carrying a camera, not just members of the media.

Mr. Perez objected to having his photo taken, telling me, “I did not give you permission to photograph me”. Again, if we are both standing in public, I have every right to photograph him. But in all honesty, I would have never photographed him had he not accosted me.

Now the usual response to the crackdown on photographers’ rights is that “9/11 changed everything”. But it hasn’t changed the First Amendment. At least not yet.

So until it does, I will continue photographing from public structures regardless of what Wackenhut security guards tell me. And I will continue photographing these guards and demanding a legitimate reason for their orders.

And I will continue documenting these instances with name, date, time and photo to show the world that these are not isolated instances, but, in fact, regular abuses of power.

After all, if there is anything sacred in this country, it is the Freedom of Expression, as you can see from the photos below.

_mg_6714.jpg

_mg_1305.jpg

_mg_6561.jpg

_mg_6609.jpg

- Advertisement -

_mg_6813.jpg

_mg_6946.jpg


More photos from Miami immigration rally
127

- Advertisement -

Support our Mission

Help us build a database of bad cops

For almost 15 years, PINAC News has remained active despite continuous efforts by the government and Big Tech to shut us down by either arresting us for lawful activity or by restricting access to our readers under the pretense that we write about “social issues.”

Since we are forbidden from discussing social issues on social media, we have created forums on our site to allow us to fulfill our mission with as little restriction as possible. We welcome our readers to join our forums and support our mission by either donating, volunteering or both.

Our plan is to build a national database of bad cops obtained from public records maintained by local prosecutors. The goal is to teach our readers how to obtain these lists to ensure we cover every city, county and state in the country.

After all, the government has made it clear it will not police the police so the role falls upon us.

It will be our most ambitious project yet but it can only be done with your help.

But if we succeed, we will be able to keep innocent people out of prison.

Please make a donation below or click on side tab to learn more about our mission.

Subscribe to PINAC

Bypass Big Tech censorship.

Carlos Miller
Carlos Millerhttps://pinacnews.com
Editor-in-Chief Carlos Miller spent a decade covering the cop beat for various newspapers in the Southwest before returning to his hometown Miami and launching Photography is Not a Crime aka PINAC News in 2007. He also published a book, The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which is available on Amazon.

Leave a Reply

- Advertisement -

Latest articles