Friday, April 20, 2012

Some friendly advice for Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus

Click image to enlarge.
Hello Director Loftus.

Miami-Dade Police Director
James Loftus
I thought I'd take this opportunity to drop you a line and tell you what a great job the men and women of the Miami-Dade Police Department are doing.

Please convey my thanks to each and every one of them for the sacrifices they make everyday as they go about protecting the citizens of Miami-Dade.

Well, I guess that's it.

Oh, I almost forgot; there is one little thing I'd like to mention.

It appears that one of your officers has never heard of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I'm sure that by now you've heard of the incident where one of your officers (see above photos) attempted yesterday to harass and intimidate a news crew from a local Spanish language TV station. (Click here to read an account of the incident.)

I wrote to you a little more than a year ago when I experienced first-hand, intimidation by one of your officers as I attempted to cover a news story. It's clearly evident that you have done little or nothing to correct the problem.

I find it incomprehensible that in the year 2012, you still have officers in your department who think it's okay to intimidate journalists.

And I find it even more unbelievable that Officer Thomas would resort to something as sleazy as writing three traffic citations in order to "get back" at the journalists.

In addition to Officer Thomas' ignorance of the rights of working journalists, he also has serious anger management issues that need to be addressed.

I know that you've received a letter (embedded below) from Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association regarding Officer Thomas' actions. I hope that you'll give serious consideration to Mr. Osterreicher's concerns.

In closing, it might be helpful if you took a minute of your time to look at the video below. It shows a minor incident that occurred on Miami Beach last month. Please note that the photographer was allowed to record the interaction between two police officers and a subject without the officers so much as batting an eye. This is how it should be done.

Parenthetically, don't you find it embarrassing that I'm using the actions of the Miami Beach Police Department as an example of how your officers should conduct themselves?

Here's some advice: Correct this problem that some of your officers appear to have with the media and do it soon. Before it comes back to haunt you.

Have a nice day.

MDPD Letter 04-20-12

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