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I was beat up, handcuffed and arrested by Miami police after photographing them against their wishes [View All]

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RagingInMiami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-23-07 10:11 AM
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I was beat up, handcuffed and arrested by Miami police after photographing them against their wishes
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The cops slammed me to the pavement even though I offered no resistance, causing a deep abrasion on my right knee.

One cop grabbed me by the back of the head and repeatedly bashed my forehead against the sidewalk, causing abrasions and swelling to the right side of my forehead.

Another cop grabbed my right hand and bent it backwards in a 90 degree angle, causing me to scream out in pain and continued to do so even after the handcuffs were placed on me.

As I verbally protested, one cop threatened me with a taser gun if I did not stop talking.

I was charged with five counts of disobeying a police officer, one count of obstructing justice, one count of obstructing traffic, one count of disorderly conduct and one count of resisting arrest without violence.

I ended up spending 16 hours in the Miami-Dade County Jail, a rat-infested building that is more Abu Ghraib than American Grade.

I plan on suing the Miami Police Department for false arrest, excessive violence, destruction of personal property, including a $400 camera flash and medical expenses incurred as I had to go to urgent care for x-rays. At the doctor's request, I also need to get an MRI to make sure there is no internal bleeding in my skull.

Today, I will contact the Miami ACLU office about this, where I happen to be a card-carrying member.

The incident occurred Tuesday night on Biscayne Blvd and 69th Street, where I was on a journalism assignment about the transition of Biscayne Blvd from seedy motel strip to trendy urban center. I had spent the day at the Anna Nicole Smith Media Circus
and I was now switching gears towards more serious journalism. I had just finished a cell phone conversation with one of my editors about the progress I was making on this story.

After hanging up, I walked over to an area where five cops were questioning a man, threatening him with arrest for reasons that were unknown to me. The cops were standing in a gravel construction area between the road and the sidewalk. I was standing on the gravel as well, but I was about 20 yards from them. The gravel area is part of the expansion construction that has been ongoing on the Blvd, which will eventually convert the street from two lanes to four lanes.

One of the cops told me to keep walking because this was a "private matter".
I said that I will not keep walking because this is a "public street".

Within seconds, the five officer left the man they were questioning alone and came after me. One cop escorted me across the road. As I stood on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road, the cops began surrounding me, which was when I took several more photos.

That was when they slammed me against the pavement, bashed my forehead repeatedly against the sidewalk, pulled my wrist back in an extreme unnatural position and threatened to shoot me with a taser gun.

On the arrest affidavit, the cops lied several times in order to justify their arrest. They accused me of photographing them without identifying myself, which is not true (and not even against the law as far as I know). As soon as one of the officers questioned me about taking photos, I immediately identified myself by name and stated that I was a journalist.

They accused me of stating that I can do whatever the hell I want when I said no such thing. I remained professional throughout the entire incident, even as I tried to remind them that I had a full legal right to photograph them.

And they accused me of standing in the middle of Biscayne Blvd while I was taking photos, obstructing traffic, which is why they had to arrest me. This is not true, as anybody familiar with the street can confirm, I would have been struck by a car within seconds.

In fact, one of the photographs I took as they approached me clearly shows that Biscayne Blvd is behind them.



It is obvious that they arrested me because they did not appreciate me taking their photos. This is a clear violation of my First Amendment rights. I plan on fighting this all the way. Wish me luck.

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