Joel Chandler, one of two brothers who has been helping me in my case against the Miami-Dade Police Department, is the winner of the 2012 Sunshine Week Local Hero Award, meaning he will have an expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. where he can wreak havoc on government officials.

The Local Hero Award was sponsored by the Knight Foundation to recognize citizens who have made strides in keeping government transparent.

In full disclosure, I was the one who nominated him after reading about the contest in my Twitter stream a few weeks ago.

Chandler edged out Eric Rachner of Seattle, whom I wrote about in 2010 and whom I’ve been meaning to write him about since because he has made great strides in the fight for government transparency, but it’s one of those stories I haven’t gotten around  to writing because of all the other stories that pop up on a daily basis.

But there was no way I could not nominate fellow Floridian Chandler, who drove down to Miami from Lakeland for my Metrorail protest in 2010.

Chandler said he will meet up with Jerome Vorus, whom I’ve also written about before and whom I met for the first time when I was visiting Washington D.C. in December.

So we should expect some interesting videos from them.

And speaking of heroes, Flex Your Rights – a site that has done a great job educating citizens on their rights when interacting with police compiled a timeline titled “Victims & Heroes: The Fight for Our Right to Record Police” that begins with my February 2007 arrest and highlights cases all the way up to the present.

I don’t consider myself a hero. I just launched this blog because I was outraged over my arrest. Then I discovered I wasn’t alone in my outrage.

And that outrage continues to grow on a national level as police continue to abuse our rights.

It seems as if everyday they are finding new ways and excuses to clamp down on our rights.

But that’s just going to make us stronger.


Please send stories, tips and videos to

Also, if you would like to contribute to my Legal Defense Fund, please buy a photographer rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag.Please write “carlos3” in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.

Or you can just donate to my Legal Defense Fund by clicking on the button below.