The first time I met Ademo Freeman was in October 2010, nine months after he and Pete Eyre had launched Cop Block, and 17 months after I had written about them for getting arrested for photographing cops in Mississippi.
They had been driving around the country in an RV on their “Liberty on Tour” project, making their way down to Miami where Ademo and I visited a local Metrorail station with our cameras.
I had been having an issue with the transit security guards who earlier that year had me “permanently banned” from the Miami-Dade Metrorail for taking photos, even though the county ordinance stated photography was allowed.
I returned a month later with a news crew from HD Net TV, a network owned by Mark Cuban, who had taken a personal interest in my battle against the Metrorail after the first video went viral.
A security guard ended up slapping the camera out of my hands and pocketing it, then tried to slap the phone out of my hands when I tried recording with it, so I responded by punching him in the face and busting his lip. It was a natural reaction and something I would not recommend.
The guard then pulled out a baton and I stepped out of the station.
The news crew had recorded the incident, so when police arrived to take a report, they wanted to arrest me for battery, but then they saw the footage and acknowledged it was self defense.
I returned to the Metrorail again less than two weeks later, accompanied by 25 photographers and a giant banner that read “Photography is Not a Crime,” which was when they began respecting our rights to take photos.
Not long after that protest, I had been informed that the county transit department had issued laminated copies of the photography policy to all the Metrorail stations in Miami to ensure the guards would respect our rights.
So Ademo and I decided to put them to the test.
As you can see in this video, they failed that test when one security guard grabbed hold of Ademo’s camera while trying to block me from recording.
Eventually, another security guard called him off, so he pulled out his phone and began recording us, prompting waves and smiles from both Ademo and I.
Later that night, we met up with several locals who had been following our blogs. We drank beer, smoked weed and traded war stories about the corrupt criminal justice system.
The one thing he told me that would stay with me forever was the phrase, “No Victim, No Crime,” which made complete sense to me.
After all, our jails and prisons are filled with non-violent drug offenders, casualties of a failed drug war.
On Tuesday, Adam “Ademo Freeman” Mueller will become the latest victim to fall to the dying drug war when he is sentenced to nine months in the Ohio prison system for possession of marijuana.
Mueller, 35, was arrested last year while driving from Colorado to Ohio to be with his girlfriend.
Ohio state troopers pulled him over for a missing license plate light, then said they smelled marijuana, searched his car and found more than 20 pounds of marijuana while Mueller live streamed to Facebook.
Perhaps driving into Ohio with that much weed wasn’t the smartest thing to do but he was in love. He had just sold Cop Block and was no longer interested in challenging police on the streets.
He was just looking forward to living with his girlfriend and her children but never made it.
Even though he was initially charged with trafficking, spending 45 days in jail, he ended up accepting a plea deal where he pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana, agreeing to a nine-month sentence with no probation and credit for time served.
It should be noted police found nothing else in the car indicating he was planning on selling the weed. No scales or baggies or bundles of cash.
“I had everything I owned in my car,” he said about his move from one state to the other.
He said the marijuana was for personal consumption. He is a medical marijuana card holder in Colorado and was planning on turning the plants into cannabis butter, which would have reduced its volume significantly. He said he had enough for six months.
But now he will spend the next seven-and-half months in prison.
He said he plans to write a book titled Diary of a Drug War Victim while serving his time. I hope he follows through on that.