Dirty Cops Belong in Jail

Miami Dade PoliceMiami Dade Police Hosted on Zooomr

Update: I have been in contact with a friend of the person arrested (RaginginMiami) in this case. I just left RaginginMiami a voicemail and will publish more details on this after I speak with him. In addition I have been in contact with the Miami Police and have a person in their department working to get me the police report on this incident. Once I have that report I will share more details.

Andrew Ferguson pointed me to a very troubling post today. I’m trying to research the story more, but here’s what I’ve got so far.

A photojournalist who goes by the name RaginginMiami was on assignment shooting Biscayne Blvd in Miami and was shooting a police action from a public street. The police asked him not to photograph them and he continued, resulting in a forceful arrest and his being charged with multiple infractions over the incident. He ended up spending 16 hours in a Miami Dade jail.

From his account:

“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 first man 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 shot several more shots.

That was when they slammed me against the pavement even though I offered no resistance, causing a deep abrasion on my right knee. One officer 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 officer grabbed my right hand and bent it backwards in a 90 degree angle, causing me to scream out in pain and continuing to do so even after the handcuffs were placed on me. As I verbally protested, one officer threatened me with a taser gun if I did not stop talking.

The officers charged me with five counts of disobeying a police, one count of obstructing justice, one count of obstructing traffic, one count of disorderly conduct and one count of resisting arrest without violence.”

The photo above is one that RaginginMiami says is of the cops who abused him.

When I hear things like this it makes my blood boil. All photographers have absolute rights to photograph the police. This is an important right. It is a check and a balance against police abuse and brutality. Without this right things like the Rodney King incident and others might never be recorded.

Apparently the abused journalist has contacted the ACLU and is working to fight back this week.

I’m trying to make contact with the journalist and will report more of the details on this as I learn them. I hope that these cops pay dearly for their decision to use force on someone for exercising their First Amendment rights.

A few years ago Flickr photographers Aqui-Ali, Ropeboy, Ranjit and myself were stopped by the Alameda Sheriff’s department. They ran our IDs for background checks for doing nothing but taking photos. The Alameda cop asked me not to take his photo but I took it anyways when he wasn’t looking.

You can digg this story here.

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27 Comments

  1. Tim H says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more about the unnecessary use of force, but I would have to ask the question why didn’t he do what the cops asked?

    There’s got to be better things to photograph than the police. What about a fireman doing his job? I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a photographer getting in on the scene to take a few photos when a building is on fire, or an ambulance crew when they are trying to save someone’s life in a car accident.

    It begs the question, does the USA now need a police force to police the police on all matters every day? Maybe the USA could get another police force set up to ride shot gun with the police to make sure they don’t ask unreasonable requests of the public.

    Thomas, luv ya work.

  2. SyZyGy says:

    Cops have an adversion to being photographed and to be photographed when expressively told not to photograph just takes it up a notch for them.
    It’s from photos and videos that misconstrue the real intentions and actions that irritate the officers. If you’d go far enough and take pics they’d be irritated but couldn’t do anything about it. But to take photos in their face is almost the same as flicking them off when their attention is on you already.
    Just move on and snap photos from a distance, use that zoom.

  3. O'Bunny says:

    Thomas, how’s the fight going against that “police officer” that gave you such a hard time for photographing a building?

  4. O'Bunny says:

    Thomas, how’s the fight going against that “police officer” that gave you such a hard time for photographing a building?

  5. Andy Frazer says:

    Since he was obviously using a flash in this photograph, I wonder if the officers’ complaint was with the fact that he was popping a flash in their eyes while they were making arrest. If so, he wouldn’t have a chance against them in court.

    We’ll have to hear more about what happened.

    Andy

  6. Jon says:

    But the thing is, people have a right to photograph cops on the street, no matter what they’re doing.

  7. Tironius says:

    Yep, careful, calling the cops “dirty” is libelous.

  8. Anonymous says:

    tim h: “why didn’t he do what the cops asked?” wtf? go to bed, your mommy told you not to stay that long in front of your computer.

    Better yet: “does the USA now need a police force to police the police on all matters every day? Maybe the USA could get another police force set up to ride shot gun with the police to make sure they don’t ask unreasonable requests of the public.” Sure, and a police for the police of the police of the police of the police, by the way. And so on until the end of times. Sheesh…

    Jon is right: “people have a right to photograph cops on the street, no matter what they’re doing.” By the way, remember this, people: you’re paying their salaries. You’re in command, not them. They are “serving you”, not the other way around. All other arguments are dull and out of place.

    Anyway, as sad as it is, you’re finally discovering in USA something that everyone knows in Latin America: never trust a cop. Ever. Never. They’ll kick your ass whenever they can. Cops are insane; anyone who chooses that job is mentally disturbed. Little by little you’ll understand in USA that democracy is just an illusion. You’ll get it eventually. You see a cop? Run away, and use the zoom, as syzygy said. The next time they’ll shoot you and will say that it was your fault.

    Pay your taxes, that’s what you’ll get.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So…let’s see. He was asked not to take their pictures. He refused and continued. And then he CLAIMS the cops got violent? Call me skeptical, but I’d like to see his wounds.

    If you started taking pictures of anyone else working and they asked you to stop, you would, wouldn’t you? Do you have that much respect for others’ wishes? Or are you one of those arrogant bastards who thinks he’s got a “right” to take a picture of anyone he wants, and damn what they say?

    If you catch the cops doing something wrong, fine, you’ve got a responsibility to your fellow citizens to document what’s going on. But if they’re just doing a bust and nothing hinky’s going on, and a cop asks you to stop taking pictures? Stop. Don’t be an asshole, or you’re going to get in trouble.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Although I am a fan of many of your postings I feel you have inadequately researched this story and the credibility of RaginginMiami. Mr. RaginginMiami appears to be just the type of person that would embelish the true story in order to gain attention and pass on his agenda. And my first thought of his lacking credibility would in fact be his Anarchy avatar. Keep up the good work.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Everyone has a right to ask not to be photographed, even cops.

    If I’m walking down the street with my 2 year old and someone starts taking pictures of her, you can bet I will ask that person to stop doing so. And they should comply with my wish, or face consequences.

  12. Jon says:

    “And they should comply with my wish, or face consequences.”

    And what kind of consequences would that be? I believe that all you can do is ask them to stop. If you touch them or their camera they may have the right to file charges against you.

  13. she said: says:

    Personally – his rendition screams media whore.

    Even though I have been detained for taking pictures recently – so I know it happens – there is much about this guys story that make it seem like he was much more confrontational with the police than he is letting on.

    Also – if this guy can afford such high end equipment – he can afford to put down a retainer. Unless he thinks a lawyer wouldn’t take his case. Then by all means – the ALCU is the best way to get a reaction.

    I also think this guy really does an injustice to people who really -ARE- harassed. Instead of instigating harassment.

  14. Jeremy says:

    So…let’s see. He was asked not to take their pictures. He refused and continued. And then he CLAIMS the cops got violent?

    You are not required to obey an unlawful order. Ever. Period. Nor are the cops within their rights to use force against you because of your refusal to obey an unlawful order.

    What it sounds like you’re saying is that the photographer should have weighed his personal safety over his legal prerogative. This is a valid practical argument for abstaining from challenging any authority, but it is not a LEGAL justification for what the police did.

    Might does not make right, and as soon as it does we are exempt from any requirement to obey the offending authority. They are simply not acting lawfully and to obey them is to submit to criminals. The question here is not whether the photographer acted lawfully in response to the officers commands, people, but whether the police command was itself lawful.

  15. Jeremy says:

    If I’m walking down the street with my 2 year old and someone starts taking pictures of her, you can bet I will ask that person to stop doing so. And they should comply with my wish, or face consequences.

    Your image, or that of your child, is not your property. That’s called living in a free society, and it has “consequences”.

  16. Jeremy says:

    Although I am a fan of many of your postings I feel you have inadequately researched this story and the credibility of RaginginMiami.

    You’re entitled to your feelings. But they aren’t actual arguments against the accuracy of the story portrayed by the author. It’s more than a little ironic that you point out the lack of sufficient evidence without providing any evidence of your own. It doesn’t make your argument invalid – just no more valid than the argument you attack.

  17. Anonymous says:

    You are not required to obey an unlawful order. Ever. Period.

    Montana

    45-7-302. Obstructing peace officer or other public servant. (1) A person commits the offense of obstructing a peace officer or public servant if the person knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the enforcement of the criminal law, the preservation of the peace, or the performance of a governmental function, including service of process.
    (2) It is no defense to a prosecution under this section that the peace officer was acting in an illegal manner, provided that the peace officer was acting under the peace officer’s official authority.
    (3) A person convicted of the offense of obstructing a peace officer or other public servant, including a person serving process, shall be fined not to exceed $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months, or both.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Colorado

    18-8-103

    (2) It is no defense to a prosecution under this section that the peace officer was attempting to make an arrest which in fact was unlawful, if he was acting under color of his official authority, and in attempting to make the arrest he was not resorting to unreasonable or excessive force giving rise to the right of self-defense. A peace officer acts “under color of his official authority” when, in the regular course of assigned duties, he is called upon to make, and does make, a judgment in good faith based upon surrounding facts and circumstances that an arrest should be made by him.

    18-8-104

    (2) It is no defense to a prosecution under this section that the peace officer was acting in an illegal manner, if he was acting under color of his official authority as defined in section 18-8-103 (2).

  19. V5 says:

    Most of you are missing the simple fact that we’re only getting one persons account, and, at best, we’re only getting it second hand.

    Everyone is jumping to one side of the issue or the other based solely on, what the courts would call, hearsay testimony.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearsay_in_United_States_law

    Read, in particular, the section on “Misconceptions.”

    Passing judgement on the cops, or the photographer, without knowing all the facts is simply irresponsible. It also goes against the very nature of the Constitution which some of you have been inaccurately spouting your own personal versions of.

    Until you know what really happened, from both sides (and even better from independent witnesses), then what I’ve read here is nothing but wild specuation.

    Get a grip
    Get the facts
    Get back to me

  20. Anonymous says:

    How many people are in jail right now due to false testimony of a dirty cop?

    I bet lot’s!

    For those who say, “I have never been arrested, and I am proud of it”!
    You may fall in the right situation at the right time….and then meet a dirty cop….see if your opinion changes then…

  21. Anonymous says:

    Police Corruption – Chief Kalavsky the current Cleveland Clinic Police Department Chief of Police John L. Kalavsky was previously arrested for forgery – theft in office – misuse of a police computer – Chief Kalavsky was arrested after a criminal indictment – this corrupt police officer testified against others to escape criminal prosecution and continues to hold a commission as the Police Chief for the Cleveland Clinic Police Department in Cleveland Ohio. The facts can be verified through the news media as well as official sources. A sworn law enforcement officer can be a thief – a liar –commit a crime – rat out other criminals and continue to be a cop.

    http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/plaindealer/access/31550370.html?dids=31550370:31550370&FMT;=ABS&FMTS;=ABS:FT&type;=current&date;=Mar+6%2C+1997&author;=JAMES+EWINGER+PLAIN+DEALER+REPORTER&pub;=The+Plain+Dealer&edition;=&startpage;=1.B&desc;=NO+SNOOPING+CHARGES+IF+CHIEF+RESIGNS

    http://www.clevescene.com/2007-02-14/news/hospital-911/

    http://www-catalog.cpl.org/CLENIX/ACP-2580

    http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/plaindealer/access/31550370.html?dids=31550370:31550370&FMT;=ABS&FMTS;=ABS:FT&type;=current&date;=Mar+6%2C+1997&author;=JAMES+EWINGER+PLAIN+DEALER+REPORTER&pub;=The+Plain+Dealer&edition;=&startpage;=1.B&desc;=NO+SNOOPING+CHARGES+IF+CHIEF+RESIGNS

    http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/plaindealer/access/1180485841.html?dids=1180485841:1180485841&FMT;=ABS&FMTS;=ABS:FT&type;=current&date;=Dec+14%2C+2006&author;=Damian+G.+Guevara%3BPlain+Dealer+Reporter&pub;=The+Plain+Dealer&edition;=&startpage;=B.3&desc;=Warrensville+ex-chief+now+heads+Clinic+police

    http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/plaindealer/access/31618171.html?dids=31618171:31618171&FMT;=ABS&FMTS;=ABS:FT&type;=current&date;=Mar+11%2C+1997&author;=&pub;=The+Plain+Dealer&edition;=&startpage;=8.B&desc;=COPPING+A+PLEA+WARRENSVILLE+CHIEF+SAYS+HE%27S+HAPPY+TO+BE+OFF+THE+HOOK%2C+BUT+HE+ALSO+SHOULD+BE+OFF+THE+FORCE+-+ANYONE%27S+FORCE+Series%3A+AGENDA+%2797+PUBLIC+TRUST

  22. grussell903 says:

    How is this photo Illegal ..? and did Smith Co. Sheriff’s arrest you for taking it..? I was arrested for taking a photo of Smith co Low-Risk Jail when I knew that it was just as public as Smith Co Courthouse and stated as such ..on Ed June 6th 2007 by Lt Lile and Red necked racist runts R.H.Smith of the Smith Co Sheriff’s department….and my 1 GB PNY SD card was bent and destroyed in an illegal false arrest for trespassing and false (Made-up resisting as Lt Lile stated "Mouth " watch your mouth!! as I explained that you were fuck-ups and didn’t know the law for trespassing on public property after dark Like Officer Freeman of the Tyler PD. with a false arrest on Rose Rudman Trail…for being in the park after dark when the Statue unknown to Them was in the Tyler city codes for 12:01 am and worse a white male jogger was also there whom they didn’t arrest….or Shooting Public Buildings from Public streets…

    Sec. 86-132. Animals. (From Palestine City Codes 2-12-2007)

    (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to tether or pasture any animal in or upon any park or playground or to hitch any horse or other animal to any tree, shrub, fence, railing or other structure except in an area that is specifically designated as appropriate for hitching an animal.

    (b) Animals within a city park must be controlled at all times by the owner and registered as provided in section 14-31. Dogs must be on leash. Dog owners must be able to show current rabies vaccination records as required by section 14-33, as well as city registration documentation.

    (c) A person in control of, or responsible for, an animal in a city park is responsible for removing waste left by the animal.
    (d)
    (Ord. No. O-33-06-B, § II, 7-24-2006) http://grussell903.wordpress.com

  23. Anonymous says:

    IF MORE PEOPLE WOULD STAND UP FOR THEIR RIGHT’S AND NOT COWER OUT , THE “POLICE’ WOULD BE LESS LIKELY TO ABUSE THEIR ‘PRIVLEDGE OF ‘POWER’. I BELEIVE THAT SOME ‘POLICE OFFICERS’ BEHAVE LIKE THIS …….JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN! I ALSO BELEIVE THAT WE AS A SOCIETY AS LONG AS WE ALLOW THIS THEY WILL CONTINOUE TO DO SO. THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE THAT SAY NOTHING ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE THIS BUT…..WHEN THEY ARE MET WITH ‘BAD CIRCUMSTANCE’S, THEN THEY COMPLAIN AND WONDER, WHY? THERE OUGHT TO BE SOME SORT OF LAW ABOUT BEING IN SUCH A POSITION OF POWER AND ABUSING THOSE POWER’S!

  24. Anonymous says:

    There is laws ,but they aren’t getting it yet. they will, and it comes from way up above them and theirs NEXT PAY UP AND SHUT UP NOW ANY QUESTIONS???????????????????? AND THATS RIGHTS TOO NOW YOU AIN’T SEEN OR HEARD ANYTHING YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LEGALLY OF COURSE NOW YOU ARE THE ONES BLOWING SMOKE OUT YOUR ASS NOW

  25. Just one man says:

    Some of these anonymous comments have to be police. They defend police beating the shit out of a man that takes pictures of them and then charges him with bullshit. President Obama and my local Mayor would have a fucking ball with clown ass officers like this. They all deserve suspension and investigation. I myself have been a victim of bullshit police brutality and have stood up to it. The police back down when you have the public and state officials on your side. All I can say for all of the anonymous pigs out there is that you better watch your asses because people like me have cameras on our houses, cars, and phones. We watch everything and report everything and the media loves that shit. We will have your fucking job. You will end up working at McDonalds and your life will be meaningless. I am just one man. But as a people we are strong. Everybody buy a camera for your house record what goes on around it. If the police that are supposed to serve you abuse you for bullshit report it and get names that is what internal affairs is for. They are the police of the police. Report it to your local mayor and if that doesn’t work go to your senator, and if that doesn’t work go to the president. President Obama is the greatest president ever. He is a great man. He listens to the people. We are the people and we do have the power. SHOW IT.

  26. Just one man says:

    Oh yeah and I am sure you are reading this. So be sure your in your guidelines if you want to intimidate me because my lawyer and I will not hesitate to throw a civil suit on your ass or asses because I know your the weakest gang in the world. Civil suits also pay very well. LOL. You operate in numbers just like a gang. You intimidate and bully. Then you fabricate bullshit charges up and tell it to the media. The difference between me and you is that I have VIDEO PROOF. THE MEDIA LOVES THAT SHIT. I don’t care who you work for I will have your ass if your wrong and it’s on tape. So remember that you work for us. Live your life right. You are a public servant. No matter what branch you work for, you are a public servant. You are NOT GOD. Treat people with respect and understanding and you might get it, but remember we pay your salary and we also watch and report you. Hmmm thats a good one. WE REPORT YOU. So if you don’t want to be that guy and don’t want to be in the hotspot like these officers of the law then know when to use force and when to not use force. This man did nothing but take pictures for GOD’S SAKE. A picture REALLY. Come on is that justice. Beat his ass and charge him with trumped up charges for taking pictures. SHAME ON YOU ALL. SHAME ON YOU. If any of your mothers are still alive and know what you did, may they beat the hell out of you at the least. I rest my case and pray for a better world where the police don’t terrorize people and intimidate. I know a few good officers and have known a many dirty. Its a matter of trial and error. So if your a PUBLIC SERVANT and are reading this please realize what your job is and realize who you are and what you want your community to see you as. I could never be a cop or anything like that because I never know when I would be in the right or the wrong. That job has to many confusions and takes a hell of alot of years of experience to know when your right and wrong and I feel it should be passed down through the years or taught very strictly, but it isn’t. I am just one man and this is my opinion. I know that some crazy government person will read this and come after me. Maybe or Maybe NOT. I am just speaking my opinion. I have that god given right. I feel the that what I have said is honest from my life experiences. So like I said if you find out who I am and want to mess with me you better expect cameras. I will report you to many important people and probably have your job if your wrong. I am a good man and expect the people who enforce the law to be that too. Thank you for your time. I appreciate everybody reading my post and be good people. That is the only thing you should be is the best you can be. What Would Jesus Do? Thats a good question.

  27. Garry says:

    If you think that the cops are bad there,you should see the cops here in Hamilton Ontario,they aleays get away with a lot of thing here and nobody can stop them,for if you do try the cops will beat the heck out of you just because they can,and they hide behind their badges and now they are going to make it so that they are not accountable to anyone,just their own cops. So dont come here to our city unless you want to get beaten up,and have your property stolen nice and legealy,for I know how they are here because they did it to me and they got away with it too.