Miami-Dade Metrorail security guards continue to harass and threaten photographers, despite supposedly being informed that there is no law or policy forbidding commuters from taking non-commercial photos or videos.
The latest reported incident took place late last month when three photographers were taking photos at the Palmetto station in Hialeah.
On Feb. 26, 2011, photographers Danny Delgado, Rob Benito and a third man were approached by two security guards who told them they needed a permit if they wanted to continue taking photos.
“We were first approached by a male guard, who besides being rude and unprofessional, was quite aggressive. As we talked with said guard the second guard (female) approached us and tried to understand the situation. We then began explaining to the female guard that we were simply trying to take some photographs and shoot some footage of ‘me’ not the “structure”, for personal use. She tried to be polite and courteous with us while at the same time backing up what her partner was saying, about us not being able to photograph/film in the station without a “permit” or some type of permission. We asked her what law or legal code she was basing her statement on but she could not answer. “
After their conversation with the security guards, the photographers went to Delgado’s apartment and printed out a copy of the Miami-Dade Code that states non-commercial photography is legal on the Metrorail. Then they returned to the station.
He continued describing his experience in his complaint:
“We began explaining to one of the newly arrived guards what our situation was and I showed him the documents we had printed out supporting the fact that we were indeed completely free to photograph and film within the station to which the guard replied “I went to school for finance not law” as he tried to hand me back the documents in an attempt to invalidate the documents and brush us off. I insisted I had highlighted the relevant lines within the documents and that they are written in plain English. He responded by saying it was his station and he didn’t care what my papers say we were not going to photograph his station.
Again just to be clear, we wanted to photograph and film ME in the station, not the station itself of the structure.
This second guard we were dealing with was as unprofessional and disrespectful as the previous guard. He was more passive aggressive than the previous guard but again I feel he is not qualified for his position. He also made some statements which were innapropriate and disturbing. He implied that if not stated outright that we looked like terrorists and asked me directly what my cultural background was and if I was a natural born American citizen. This guard appeared to be Anglo-American. He went on a rant about his supposed service in Afghanistan and went on the mention something about Indonesia and asked us to search google and youtube for some videos of something. His thoughts were almost incoherent and quite confusing. They had nothing to do with the situation on hand.”
It seems that it requires a minimum of ten photographers for them to understand our rights. Anything less will get you harassed.