We’ve linked to the blog, PhotographyIsNotACrime.com (PINAC), a few times in the past (it recently moved locations). Its author, Carlos Miller, not only covered a number of cases involving photographers being arrested or harassed for photographing buildings, police or something else, but was a defendant in just such a case himself. Miller was arrested back in January while videotaping police at an “Occupy Miami” event. Not only was he arrested, but his camera was confiscated and the police deleted footage from the camera — including footage of the encounter that led to his arrest. The police claimed that Miller had disobeyed an order by the police to “clear the area.” However, the videotaped footage — which Miller was able to recover despite the deletion — showed a different story. It showed a clearly-aware-of-his-rights Miller making the case that he was doing nothing wrong. Furthermore, other journalists were allowed to stay in the area, and one of those journalists, Miami Herald reporter Glenn Garvin, testified at the trial about how he was allowed to stay. In fact, he went to the officer who arrested Miller and asked her if he needed to move, and she told him he was “under no threat of getting arrested.”
It also turned out that police were specifically on the lookout for Miller:
An e-mail disclosed during the trial showed the police had been monitoring Miller’s Facebook page and had sent out a notice warning officers in charge of evicting the Occupy Miami protestors that Miller was planning to cover the process.
Given all that, it’s not too surprising that the jury wasted little time in finding him not guilty. But the case isn’t over just yet. Miller is vowing to sue, claiming the arrest and (attempted) deletion from his camera violated his constitutional rights. And he’s got some precedent on his side. As we’ve noted, Boston recently had to pay Simon Glik $170,000 after an appeals court ruled, in a similar case, that his arrest for filming police was a violation of the First and Fourth Amendments — though that was based on wiretap laws, so it was slightly different. Either way, Miller’s follow up suit should be worth watching.