RagingInMiami (1000+ posts)
Thu Feb-25-10 12:23 PM
I've been arrested twice in three years for photographing cops against their wishes
The first time was back in 2007 in an incident that was first discussed on DU. That compelled me to start a blog on photographers' rights because photographers getting harassed and arrested for doing something that is protected by the First Amendment is an ongoing issue.
The second time was last year on Miami Beach in a incident I just started publicly talking about because I did not want it to interfere with the probation conviction from the first arrest.
I had been placed on a one-year probation after my first arrest because a biased judge allowed improper evidence during my trial. He allowed the prosecutor to introduce portions of my blog to convince the jury that I hate cops, which is why I got myself arrested, even though that blog did not exist at the time of my arrest.
Because of this, the jury acquitted me of refusing a lawful order and disorderly conduct, but convicted me of resisting arrest without violence. I appealed that conviction pro se (without a lawyer) and won it, which nullified the conviction and my probation, even though I served a year.
This is good because now all I am facing is a resisting arrest charge from my second arrest instead of a probation violation, which would have sent me to jail for a year. All for taking photos of cops in public.
So this is an ongoing battle for me. I not only write about these issues on an almost daily basis on my blog, I am out fighting the battle on the streets. It has cost me thousands in legal fees, way too many hours behind bars and several lost job opportunities because I am considered controversial.
This is why it is so important for me to win the Sun-Sentinel Best Overall Blog contest. I am currently in second place behind a blog about the Miami Dolphins which has a strong and loyal following, so they are constantly voting.
For me, winning the contest is more than the $100 gift certificate at Target. I'm willing to donate that to a poor family.
For me, winning the contest is about further establishing my blog as a legitimate source of information about police abuses. It's about making more people aware of these incidents that occur on a daily basis.
It's about sending a message to police and judges that people are paying attention.
And I really need DU's help in this because this is the only site that has the mass numbers that I need to help me beat that sports blog. And it would be almost like coming full circle considering I first wrote about my first arrest here where it ended up going on Digg with more than 2,400 votes.
To vote, you need to register on the Sun-Sentinel, which takes a couple of minutes. However, once you register, you can vote at least once a day in each category.
This is what I ask of you:
1. Create a free Sun-Sentinel account (requires valid e-mail address). Click here to do that.
2. Click here to vote for Photography is Not a Crime as the Best Overall Blog in South Florida. You can type in "Photography is Not a Crime" into the search box on the screen or just find it in the drag down menu. Then click on "Vote For best overall."
3. Click here and scroll down to the categories of "Art/DIY," "Photography" and "Politics" and click the "vote" link under Photography is Not a Crime (this step is not as important as step 2 if you're in a rush, but it helps).
Remember, you can vote in each category at least once a day until 10 a.m. (eastern time) on March 1st.