Carlos Miller, the Miami photojournalist who has done so much to fight for the right to record the police to prevent misconduct, is in unjustified legal trouble again. This time it’s the Boston police department charging him with a bunch of bullshit charges over things he wrote on his website. Here’s how it began:
It started with a very clear-cut case of police intimidation against a man trying to video record Boston police conducting an investigation in broad daylight last August, in which an overbearing detective pushed and shoved the videographer away from the scene, threatening to arrest him on felony battery on a police officer when the video shows he was the one committing battery on the videographer.
I was one of the first sites to post the video, which ended up going viral, setting the stage for what would become an intense campaign of police retaliation against Photography is Not a Crime.
The day after I posted the video, PINAC crew member Taylor Hardy, a 25-year-old journalism student from Miami, called a Boston police public information officer for comment, recording the conversation on his iPad.
Boston police spokeswoman Angelene Richardson said she had not seen the video of the overbearing detective, so the conversation was useless to me, and I didn’t bother posting it on PINAC, even though Hardy had posted a portion of their conversation on his Youtube channel.
And that led to Richardson discovering the video and filing a complaint against Hardy for illegal wiretapping, claiming he had never informed her he was recording, a felony charge that can land him in prison for five years.
Yes, they’re charging a journalist with a felony for recording a conversation with a public information officer (which, by the way, they should be strongly in favor of him doing so their statements are portrayed accurately). Seriously. So Carlos wrote about those ridiculous charges on his blog and encouraged people to call this PIO and put some public pressure on them to drop those clearly trumped-up charges against the journalist, and he included her office number and email address, both of which are available on the police department website. And then:
After all, as a media spokeswoman, she should understand that all conversations with the media, unless other stated, are on the record. In fact, she should insist reporters record her comments to ensure accuracy.
That led to numerous PINAC readers calling Richardson, which obviously is something that unsettles this public information officer, suggesting that perhaps she is in the wrong line of work.
And that led to Detective Moore filing a criminal complaint against me for witness intimidation, which I received Friday and is posted below, claiming that I caused Richardson all kinds of pain and grief because I posted her publicly available work contact info on my blog.
He also threatened to charge any readers who called her, making me think that perhaps the Boston Police Department is recording all incoming calls because how else would they gather the evidence to charge my readers for witness intimidation?
So let me get this straight. They’re charging him with felony witness intimidation for encouraging the public to contact a public information officer to protest police intimidation of a journalist over his “crime” of reporting to the public what was said by a public information officer. It’s hard to imagine a more clear-cut case of police intimidation of journalists. Every single person involved should be fired. Immediately.