In front of a cable/satellite news team with cameras rolling, a Miami-Dade Metrorail security guard ripped my video camera from my hand, knocking it to the ground, before pocketing it and refusing to return it.
The guard then began pushing me aggressively after I had pulled out my iPhone to continue recording – all while telling me to stop pushing him.
He then struck my hand again in an attempt to snatch the iPhone.
I struck him back, busting his lip.
It was the second time within a month that I had a confrontation with security guards over videography at the Douglas Road Metrorail Station. The first time resulted in a captain from 50 State, the security company that contracts with Miami-Dade County, to “permanently ban” me from the Metrorail.
However, I was never served an official notice. And I did not commit a crime to merit being banned from a public-funded facility in the first place.
After Thursday’s confrontation, paramedics were called to treat the security guard. Cops were called to decide whether I needed to be arrested on battery charges. Or trespassing charges.
Or illegal videography charges, which do not exist but might as well considering how they reacted to me Thursday morning.
The entire incident will be broadcast in an upcoming documentary segment on HDNet TV World Report, the network owned by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban – the same network that hired Dan Rather when CBS terminated his contracted after 44 years.
The news crew was in town to interview me about Photography is Not a Crime for an in-depth segment on photographers’ rights that will be aired in about three weeks.
Before the incident, I was talking to correspondent Greg Dobbs – who has one hell of a bio – about how I was permanently banned from the Metrorail last month with Stretch Ledford, who is in Europe or else he would have been with us.
We walked through the parking lot of the Douglas Road Metrorail Station and purchased tickets. Dobbs and I then walked inside through the turnstile with me holding up my Canon TX1. The rest of the news crew remained outside.
Within seconds, I was accosted by the female security guard as well as the male security guard wearing a black beret and a single latex glove who knocked the camera from my hand.
I demanded my camera but he refused to give it back.
Then I remembered I had my iPhone, so I started shooting video with that, which prompted the female security to get in my face.
She even lifted her fist up a couple of times as if she was going to strike me.
HDNet TV correspondent Greg Dobbs is in the background trying to reason with the guard who had swiped my camera. This was before we exchanged blows. (Shot with my Canon 5D)
I kept trying to walk away from her while holding up my camera, which is why the video is so shaky.
The male guard then came after me and I also tried walking away from him while videotaping.
But when he struck me, I struck back instinctively.
He then pulled out a metal baton and came after me with it.
I stepped outside the station and he sat down to tend to his lip.
Miami-Dade detectives who arrived on the scene were considering charging me with battery until they saw the footage shot by the news crew.
After two hours of talking to cops, my camera was returned to me, minus a battery that somehow got lost.
The initial footage of the first assault was not on the memory card, so I suspected they had deleted it. But then when I tried to recover it with recovery software after I had gotten home, I could not find it either. So maybe I had just forgot to hit record.
Thankfully, the news crew did not do the same.
I also realize that I must learn how to hold the iPhone horizontally if I’m going to shoot video, which I rarely do because I always have my TX1 on me. But it did serve as a nice back-up.
After the morning excitement, we had lunch and went to my place where we continued the interview in front of my computer. They then drove up to West
Palm Beach to interview Tasha Ford about the story I broke on PINAC last year.
And later in the week, they will fly up to Washington DC to continue interviewing people engaged in the struggle for photographers’ rights.