Tuesday, December 9, 2008

U R Under Arrest!

I am SHOCKED! To begin, let me remind you of my recent blog. See what I said there? "Where is the police when we need them?" I wish I hadn't said that...

Heading to meet two friends for lunch at this restaurant in downtown South Miami, a very pleasant upscale neighborhood. Just Sunday, they had a Santa's Elves parade here. So I expect to have a very pleasant lunch with friends. How WRONG I was! I parked my car to the right of the restaurant. Being 15 minutes early, I walked across the street, took 2 identical photos one of which is this blog. That was all the time it took for a police car arriving with all lights flashing to stop in front of me. The police officer came directly to me and asked what I was doing there? I told him I took some photos. What for? For my MiamiEveryDay blog... What? Oh, that's one of the City Daily Photo blog on the net. What? So I told him that I guess I know what's happening, and he confirmed that someone had called the police and I was singled out! An entire suite of adjectives came through my mind, all from my secret dictionary of words not to use casually! Not for the police, but for the person who called. Of course, I was very politely asked to show my ID, which I had to take out of my wallet. I was also asked to show my business card. Just my lucky day that I had two in my wallet. I usually never have any. Now the police officer got my two valuable ID pieces and he was in conversation with some remote location. I was asked if I was ever arrested. The answer was no. (I thought to myself, not yet! But this does not look good!) I was asked to go across the street so he can move the police car (with wonderfully beautiful multicolor flashing lights, perfect for the approaching Xmas spirit) out of traffic. Of course I obliged. I told the officer, who was very nice that I am about to have a lunch meeting here in about 5 minutes, at 1:00 o'clock, and that I can show him my MiamiEveryDay blog in his car (because they do have internet connection in patrol cars,) I was asked again if I was ever arrested. The answer was still no. I decided to call my lunch friends to ask them to hurry and come to my aid. Gary came after he found a place to park his car to say that yes, he enjoys my blog, and yes, I take a photo of Miami everyday to blog, and yes, my blog does some good press for the city and he even took me to "Jimbo's" for a wonderful blog. Did it help? Nah! Didn't think so. I was asked if I make money with this blog. Are you kidding? At my rate, I am losing tons of money spending time doing this thing "pro bono!" So... to make a LONG story short, I was let go scott free! Without a citation or a ticket! Thank goodness. There is a God after all! Thank you, thank you! I was so shocked and upset (internally) that my luch went to hell. It was a bad meal! I forgot what I ate! The owner of the restaurant said he did not call the police. Of course, if I were him, I would deny it as well. Hhmmm... I wonder who that was??? Mystery! My consolation for the day? My friend Gary told me I was almost arrested by a police Sergeant, no less! Whew!



Allen said...

I enjoy your blog very much and have been following it on my reader for a while. As someone with an interest in photography this saddens me. It happens far too often. I am glad the officer was courteous, but you should not have been approached by him at all. If someone called about you, they should have been told by the police operator that photography is not a crime. You were 100% within your rights to take pictures in a public place of whatever you chose to photograph. It is terrible that you would have to defend your right like this to a sargeant, no less, who should know the law.

TOG said...

I don't know were that place is and if I knew I would go over and take a picture. I feel sad for the person who turned you in. Just think how worried that person is all of the time, Your problem lasted only minutes and you knew that you did nothing wrong.
You find very few pictures in my blog that have people as the subject. Of course our grandson is prime blog material. And you seldom see my picture that you can recognize in my blog. I just stopped a few minutes - a friend stopped by with my Santa Claus clothes.
I often erase cars and people from my pictures because they are not the story. I never thought that a building would be a problem, what a funny world that we live in.

Hilda said...

Oh man, that was awful! I'd like to give the person who called a big bop on the head. I've been told off my security guards — and several other CDP bloggers have experienced that too — but never by the police!

I'm so glad he only questioned you and was actually courteous!

joel said...

this makes me wanna go down there and walk around taking pictures. we'll see what happens.

Blind Mind said...

He probably thought you were Carlos Miller...

swampthing said...

i will wager there was no blicking anon caller, thats the oldest trick in the book-em.

Sandrine said...

I'm sorry you had to go through that.I follow your blog as well about every day and enjoy it.I wonder what are they doing in that building that they don't want to be photographed.What about if you were just taking a picture and did not have a blog? Would that be a crime? It is really upsetting.
Take care

Anonymous said...

First of all, you really didn't have to explain where your photos are going, even though it never hurts to promote your blog.

But still, you should have let him from the moment he came up to you that you are well aware that you are not breaking any laws.

By acting like you don't know gives the cop a power trip if he actually knows the law or encourages him to continue harassing people for taking photos if he is dumb enough to think this is actual probable cause.

I wish you would have taken a picture of the cop himself.

And this guy is a sergeant? What a disgrace.

Did you ask them why you were singled out?

For taking photos?

People take photos in that area every day. It's a very picturesque area.

Did you get the sergeant's name?

I don't care if he was nice. He had no business asking you if you had been arrested.

Hell, if that would have been me, and I said, yes, I had been arrested, for taking pictures of cops nonetheless, would that have been more of a problem?

Would he have taken me in?

This is such bullshit. It really pisses me off.

Lan Nghiem-Phu said...

Wow! I appreciate all your comments. First, let me say that I was well dressed, in my business attire for casual lunch. I usually stroll around Mimai in sneaker and sometimes even in T-shirt, so I don't think I looked like a homeless person or a bum. I am always very agreeable and obliged when the police officer did not appear threatening to me. I was also certain I was not breaking any law, so I did not have to feel defensive at all. All I wanted was to show him my blog in his patrol car, and he was even agreeing to it, but he let the matter end before we had to come to that. I strive to have infinite patience so I can deal with these situations. I do not get into any fight unless I am sure I win. Fighting or confronting "authority" or "authority figures" is not a wise thing for me to do, unless it is clearly required. This was not the case. I was not stressed and was rather amused. I only blamed the bad meal in a humorous and diplomatic way. The meal was truly BAD!

Johnny R. said...

Lan I recently started reading your blog and I love it. It is sad that you can't even take pictures of anything anymore without people jumping in a panic. Regardless of whether you wear a suit or a t-shirt, you should be allowed to take pictures. I am glad the officer was nice. I love your blog. Happy Holidays :^)

M.K. said...

Oh good gravy train! this is Miami, for pete's sake! What would they say to a visiting tourist? It better not be the restaurant owner, unless he wants to drive away his customers!

Jim Winters said...

sorry to hear...cops suck!