Photography Is Not a Crime” activist Carlos Miller convicted of resisting Miami police while attempting to cover officers breaking up an Occupy protest encampment.Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Ari Pregen tried and failed last November to get “
Miller blogged about his own trial, the crux of which seemed to be based on the idea that Miller wasn’t a “real” journalist and didn’t kowtow to the police the way “real” journalists do. Here’s how Miller described Pregen’s argument:
A real journalist, he explained, was supposed to follow police orders without a second thought. A real journalist would never back talk to police. A real journalist would never question a direct police order as to why he was not allowed to stand on a public sidewalk.
That’s all bullshit, as Miller’s lawyer pointed out, and even got a Miami Herald reporter who had been at the scene (and was not arrested) to testify on Miller’s behalf. The jury freed him after all of 30 minutes of deliberation.
It’s amusing, now, to read Pregen’s lecture on appropriate professional behavior. He’s been fired for using his badge to get special treatment at a strip club. When getting lap dances. Via the Miami New Times:
Around 1 in the morning, Pregen lost his cool when he used his credit card to pay for lap dances. He was annoyed that Goldrush -- like all strip clubs -- wanted to collect a 15 percent surcharge for swiping his plastic. Anyone familiar with strip-club etiquette understands that obtaining bands for lap dances usually comes with a vig (or vigorish). That's why patrons in the know stop at an ATM before they step through the front door.
Clearly, Pregen didn't get the memo. [Club Manager Jeff] Levy alleges Pregen tried to intimidate the female employee who ran his credit card by stating "he is a state attorney and he dares her to charge him... Mr. Pregen goes on to flash his badge again to the female employee." The assistant prosecutor also claimed it was illegal for the club to take his fingerprint because he was a state employee. (To prevent allegations of committing credit card fraud, strip clubs will take a customer's fingerprint and driver's license.) …
The strip club manager decided to report Pregen because he was "highly upset that a person would abuse his power and position as a state attorney, demanding things for free and intimidate the working-class person."
This is actually the second instance of a prosecutor going after Miller getting canned, though, sadly, neither firing was because they abused their authority by going after him in the first place.