Privacy SOS

Journalist spied on, repeatedly arrested in Miami

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Back in January 2012, freelance journalist Carlos Miller was documenting the police raid and eviction of Occupy Miami. You can watch video of his attempt to do so above.

His taping was cut short when he was arrested, however, marking the third time Miami police had arrested him for filming law enforcement. (He was cleared of wrongdoing in the first two arrests — one of which included a resisting arrest charge.)

What he didn't know on the night of his arrest is that the Miami Police Department had been talking about him, and watching him. The first documented mention of him was in an email sent eleven hours before the eviction operation. It was written by the Miami-Dade Police Homeland Security Bureau and warned:

Carlos Miller is a Miami multimedia journalist who has been arrested twice for taking pictures of law enforcement.  He has publicly posted on social networks that he will be taking pictures today in order to document the eviction.

Attached to the email was a photo of Mr. Miller, from his Facebook account. (Mr. Miller thinks the police were monitoring his public Facebook profile.) The above email and a few hundred others were released after a friend of Mr. Miller's filed a public records request seeking information about the department's interest in his friend, the journalist.

The emails show that Mr. Miller first shot onto the radar of the Miami Police Homeland Security Bureau when he was arrested for taking photographs on the Miami Metrorail, a small train shuttle in the downtown area. 

Mr. Miller later posted a photograph of his arresting officer on his blog. The released emails show that police saw the blog post and didn't like it. The head of the Miami Police Homeland Security Bureau, Glenn Stolzenberg, replied to an email notifying him of Miller's blog post:

Thanks Maggie. Please have someone take a look at this. There maybe a statute that deals with posting pictures of LE officers.

Another officer demurred, replying that it wasn't in fact illegal to post pictures of law enforcement officers, but encouraged continual monitoring of Mr. Miller's website:

At this time, he has not violated any laws regarding the release of the photo or the post but this is something we definitely must keep an eye on.  Some tactics used by activist groups involve harassment and that would violate numerous statutes depending on the methods they utilize.  We will continue to monitor the sites and postings of Mr. Miller and ask that Major Perez please keep us notified of any contact made by this individual or his representatives/supporters.

Various officers continued to spy on Mr. Miller's blog, and informed Officer Perez whenever Mr. Miller updated the blog about his case. Another Homeland Security Bureau officer wrote:


Hello Major Perez,
Have you seen this article?  It was posted last night at 9:40pm.
Carlos Miller is on his high horse again.  He continues to post negative statements regarding law enforcement.  I will continue to monitor for additional information.
Officer Perez replied:
No I actually had not seen it.  Thank you for sending it to me.  Also, multiple demonstrators have begun to call my office wanting to engage me in conversation about Mr. Miller.  Just an FYI
The Homeland Security Bureau officer wrote back:
Interesting.  Like I said before, this guy is targeting you and I believe he is trying to get some monetary gain as well as publicity.
Which elicited this bizarre response from Perez, whom Mr. Miller says told his lawyers is a "good Christian woman":
No worries.
Romans 12:19
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
It appears as if Major Perez didn't wait for God to avenge her in her absurd struggle against public information and journalism. She was the officer in the video above who pointed out Mr. Miller and had him arrested at the Occupy eviction. Photo below:

Side note: the emails also show that the Miami police watched via livestream Mr. Miller give a public presentation about photographing the police. Mr. Miller reportedly said that he would be traveling to Tampa to film police at the upcoming Republican National Convention protests. The police acted quickly: time for "situational awareness" information sharing! The following email was included in those released to Mr. Miller via the public records request:
Carlos Miller repeatedly mentioned his recent arrest and how he has previously dealt with the police.
 *Carlos Miller stated he intends to to attend the RNC in Tampa August 27-30, 2012 to record and document the event.
Proper notifications will be made for situational awareness purposes.
Is this what law enforcement and "homeland security" officers nationwide are doing with our tax dollars? What a sad, sad joke.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.