Saturday, February 7, 2009
Amtrak Photo Contestant Arrested Taking Pictures of Amtrak (Really!)
This is an update on month old news, that candidly, your neighborhood blogger knew nothing about, until last week, when watching the Colbert Report we saw this hilarious segment on Feb. 2, 2009.
Check out the video here. It is on top of the page, and it links to a whole new South Florida connection. That next. I defy anyone to tell me that the investigator in the Colbert video does not look like Russell Williams.
When photographer Duane Kerzic first heard about Amtrak's "Picture our Trains" photo contest, he never imagined that Amtrak police at New York's Penn Station would confuse his picture-taking for suspicious activity and arrest him. But they sure did, and guess what? They ARRESTED HIM!
Kerzic was charged with trespassing after refusing to delete the photos of the trains from his camera.
Kerzic, the alleged victim of all this, is not taking this incident lying down. On his blog, he's encouraging people to write to their Mayors, Senators, the CEO of Amtrak, and even the President to help make sure this doesn't happen again. He has also contacted a New York City lawyer who specializes in First Amendment cases and the National Press Photographers Association has also been in contact with him.
Kerzic has also composed a detailed account of his arrest called (really) "Amtrak Police Intentionally Injure My Right Wrist" and he says he'd like criminal charges to be filed against the arresting officer. For more on this incident, go here.
Couldn't happen here, right? Guess what, go to the blog of Carlos Miller, a Miami photojournalist, and capture his plight.
He is a multimedia journalist who was arrested by Miami police after taking photos of them against their wishes, a clear violation, he asserts, of his First Amendment rights. Since that arrest on Feb. 20th, 2007, he has been fighting a lengthy battle against the State of Florida to prove his innocence. Recently, a jury acquitted him of disobeying a police officer and disorderly conduct, but convicted him of resisting arrest without violence. He is now appealing the conviction.
During the sentencing, he alleges,an extremely biased judge "gave me four times the amount of probation the State was seeking because he was angry that I had blogged about my case. Judge Jose L. Fernandez said he was "shocked" by my lack of remorse in this case. But why should I show remorse for crimes I did not commit?"
Click here to read the saga of Carlos Miller.