2010: The Photography is Not a Crime Year in Review

Happy New Year!  2010 was a very productive and successful year for Photography is Not a Crime, where it was named the Best Overall Blog in South Florida in a newspaper contest, mentioned in several national news articles and segments about photographers’ rights and incorporated into a new photo site owned by Barnes and Nobles.

For better or worse, it appears that PINAC has gone mainstream.

I wouldn’t go that far. But people are definitely paying attention. And the mainstream media is finally realizing that non-journalists have as much right to take photos in public as journalists.

And to top things off, I managed to get through the year without getting arrested, although there were a few close calls.

The main lesson I carried into 2010 is that it’s all about video.

The two times I was arrested  (in 2007 and in 2009) was when I was shooting still photography. Video cameras seem to make cops think twice about doing anything stupid.

And now that they have become so affordable, I can’t stress the importance of carrying a video camera in your pocket where ever you go, especially if you’re out shooting stills.

So let’s take a look at the major stories of the year.  And in case you want to go further back, here is the 2009 PINAC Year in Review.

January

I was fresh won winning my appeal in my first arrest for taking photos of cops, but I had to deal with a second arrest for taking photos of cops, which took a positive turn when the original judge whom I had just beaten in my appeal was forced to recuse himself for my second trial.

And Joel Chandler provided us with some important lessons on how to deal with the police after they harass you for taking photos in public.

In London, thousands of photographers took to the streets in protest against laws that turned photographers into suspected terrorists.

In Virginia, a man was harassed on two separate occasions for photographing an elevator. Yes, an elevator.

In Georgia, some libertarians proved to be not so liberty-minded when Ron Paul campaign workers ordered a videographer to stop filming an altercation between Ron Paul staff and an anti-Semitic man who was trying to crash one of their functions.

And a PINAC story on the Chicago Transit Authority urging commuters to report photographers sparked national discussion about photographers and rail fans, resulting in me getting interviewed by a Chicago radio station.

February

The second month of the year was dominated mostly by me annoyingly urging readers to vote in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Best of Blogs competition – a contest that involved more than 200 local blogs –  which I ended up winning after coming from behind in the polls. (thanks, guys!).

Meanwhile in Texas, a man schooled cops on the law when he refused to provide an identification.

Also in Texas, a cop was arrested for “improper photography” when he was accused of photographing women inside a department store dressing room.

And in Virginia, used a video camera and the internet to challenge speed trap tickets.

In New York, a man who worked for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority won a $30,000 settlement after he was arrested for photographing trains.  

And in Idaho, a man who sodomized by a cop with a Taser won a six-figure settlement.

In California, PINAC reader Rob Hurlbut received an apology after San Diego Trolley security guards harassed him for shooting video in public.

And in New Mexico, a small-town cop fired for beating a handcuffed teen on video was hired by a neighboring small town.

March

Charges of resisting arrest without violence were dismissed against me when Miami Beach Police Officer David Socarras failed to show up to trial for the second time in a row, even though Miami Beach makes it mandatory for their officers to show up to trial.

New York City continued to dish out multi-thousand dollar settlements when it paid $40,000  and $98,000 in unrelated lawsuits.

But despite the settlements and despite an operations order from last year that informed cops that photography was legal, photographers were still getting harassed in the Big Apple.

Meanwhile, I visited New York and stayed with a buddy in New Jersey, where a state transit guard told me I was not allowed to take pictures in the parking lot of a train station because it was “private property.”

San Francisco blogger and photographer Thomas Hawk came to Miami and got harassed for taking photos. But we hung out and had a blast anyway.

PINAC received a cease and desist letter from some journalist in Vermont who tried to pass himself off as a lawyer if I didn’t remove a photo by a certain time. As a journalist who has also has passed himself as a lawyer during my victorious appeal, I took him up on his challenge by allowing his deadline to pass (by 24 hours) before removing the photo.

Happy New Year!  2010 was a very productive and successful year for Photography is Not a Crime, where it was named the Best Overall Blog in South Florida in a newspaper contest, mentioned in several national news articles and segments about photographers’ rights and incorporated into a new photo site owned by Barnes and Nobles.

For better or worse, it appears that PINAC has gone mainstream.

I wouldn’t go that far. But people are definitely paying attention. And the mainstream media is finally realizing that non-journalists have as much right to take photos in public as journalists.

And to top things off, I managed to get through the year without getting arrested, although there were a few close calls.

The main lesson I carried into 2010 is that it’s all about video.

The two times I was arrested  (in 2007 and in 2009) was when I was shooting still photography. Video cameras seem to make cops think twice about doing anything stupid.

And now that they have become so affordable, I can’t stress the importance of carrying a video camera in your pocket where ever you go, especially if you’re out shooting stills.

So let’s take a look at the major stories of the year.  And in case you want to go further back, here is the 2009 PINAC Year in Review.

January

I was fresh won winning my appeal in my first arrest for taking photos of cops, but I had to deal with a second arrest for taking photos of cops, which took a positive turn when the original judge whom I had just beaten in my appeal was forced to recuse himself for my second trial.

And Joel Chandler provided us with some important lessons on how to deal with the police after they harass you for taking photos in public.

In London, thousands of photographers took to the streets in protest against laws that turned photographers into suspected terrorists.

In Virginia, a man was harassed on two separate occasions for photographing an elevator. Yes, an elevator.

In Georgia, some libertarians proved to be not so liberty-minded when Ron Paul campaign workers ordered a videographer to stop filming an altercation between Ron Paul staff and an anti-Semitic man who was trying to crash one of their functions.

And a PINAC story on the Chicago Transit Authority urging commuters to report photographers sparked national discussion about photographers and rail fans, resulting in me getting interviewed by a Chicago radio station.

February

The second month of the year was dominated mostly by me annoyingly urging readers to vote in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Best of Blogs competition – a contest that involved more than 200 local blogs –  which I ended up winning after coming from behind in the polls. (thanks, guys!).

Meanwhile in Texas, a man schooled cops on the law when he refused to provide an identification.

Also in Texas, a cop was arrested for “improper photography” when he was accused of photographing women inside a department store dressing room.

And in Virginia, used a video camera and the internet to challenge speed trap tickets.

In New York, a man who worked for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority won a $30,000 settlement after he was arrested for photographing trains.  

And in Idaho, a man who sodomized by a cop with a Taser won a six-figure settlement.

In California, PINAC reader Rob Hurlbut received an apology after San Diego Trolley security guards harassed him for shooting video in public.

And in New Mexico, a small-town cop fired for beating a handcuffed teen on video was hired by a neighboring small town.

March

Charges of resisting arrest without violence were dismissed against me when Miami Beach Police Officer David Socarras failed to show up to trial for the second time in a row, even though Miami Beach makes it mandatory for their officers to show up to trial.

New York City continued to dish out multi-thousand dollar settlements when it paid $40,000  and $98,000 in unrelated lawsuits.

But despite the settlements and despite an operations order from last year that informed cops that photography was legal, photographers were still getting harassed in the Big Apple.

Meanwhile, I visited New York and stayed with a buddy in New Jersey, where a state transit guard told me I was not allowed to take pictures in the parking lot of a train station because it was “private property.”

San Francisco blogger and photographer Thomas Hawk came to Miami and got harassed for taking photos. But we hung out and had a blast anyway.

PINAC received a cease and desist letter from some journalist in Vermont who tried to pass himself off as a lawyer if I didn’t remove a photo by a certain time. As a journalist who has also has passed himself as a lawyer during my victorious appeal, I took him up on his challenge by allowing his deadline to pass (by 24 hours) before removing the photo.

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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.

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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.

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