Monday June 23, 2008

Amid news of Carlos Miller being found guilty of resisting arrest in his police-photographing case, we have this: Artist Momoko Sudo harassed and intimidated by Coral Gables police for looking funny and photographing their motorcycle. (via Artblog)



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  1. Carlos Miller    Mon Jun 23, 08:16 AM #  

    Damn, Alesh, I hate to see you go, but thanks for posting this before you closed up shop or otherwise I probably would not have heard about it.

    You know I will be posting this on my blog later.

    It’s too bad because Coral Gables Police have always been pretty decent in my experience.

  2. Momoko Sudo    Mon Jun 23, 01:49 PM #  

    I could have been in an arrest situation easily. All I had to do was not to comply with handing over MY camera and use the “inappropriate” language which I know how to use thanks to wonderful American movies.

    It’s a scary world to live in…

  3. alesh    Mon Jun 23, 02:03 PM #  

    I think that may be literally true. One of the commenters on Artblog links to Bert Krages’ photographer’s rights, which states that a police officer is only allowed to confiscate your camera if they’re arresting you. So… your refusal to turn over the camera (certainly within your right TECHNICALLY) might have bluffed them into arresting you. Scary for sure.

    Slightly related is Slate’s series on laws in America that go deliberately unenforced.

  4. Momoko Sudo    Mon Jun 23, 06:58 PM #  

    The thing that bothers me is that the officer repeatedly asked if I had my cell phone with me to the extent that I got really annoyed. During the harassment, I was just coping so I didn’t think of it, but now I know that he INTENDED to harass me from the beginning. That’s why he wanted to make sure that I couldn’t call anyone. I was just taking a walk and didn’t have my phone with me. It was an open space, and there was no one else around.

    Some of my friends told me that I was lucky I wasn’t killed. It was rather easy for them to take me into their car and take me to elsewhere and do whatever.

  5. alesh    Mon Jun 23, 09:31 PM #  

    Momoko, I’ve had several unplesant run-ins with the police over the years (most recently when one of them ran a stop sign and crashed into my car), and my impression is not that “they can do whatever they want.” My impression is that they generally aim to help, but when someone acts in a way they disagree with, they will do whatever they think they can get away with, which comes to mean what we (society) accept.

    And unfortunately, the de-facto rights of photographers have taken an absolute thrashing over the last 7 years. Your case and that of Carlos Miller are two of over a half-dozen cases I’ve either personally experienced or first-hand heard about of photographers being harassed (and WORSE) by police or the security guards under their authority. The reason, plain and simple, is that this is what the public now tolerates from law enforcement.

  6. amysmiles    Tue Jun 24, 03:28 AM #  

    Your situation is not something that should be ignored. I am proud of you speaking up and finding ways to have your story heard by many. As far as taking action the thing you are suppose to do is contact the station and ask for the sheriff. Go to the highest local officer as possible and explain what happened. Its possible that you might even be compensated for your lost work if you make the request. Although I know there is no true compensation for lost art, its the gesture that would count. After you have been heard by the local head officer then go even farther and write to the city council and then the state governor. THe more letters you write to official people the more impact you will be able to make. I believe it is important to first decide what your goal is to have people hear your story. I know it has nothing to do with sympothy. I would love to see police work get reformed to some level. All over the nation innocent people are being harassed. I believe officers are completely oblivious of the effect they have on peoples lives. Some of the people like yourself who are innocent, their lives get turned upside down because they become so afraid. Im not saying this is what happened to you but Im sure you can relate. When the people who are there to protect and keep the peace are the ones threatening and $harassing, life then becomes filled with distrust and fear. Other people are effected when their lives get destroyed by false charges brought against them from some harassing officer. It might be scary to move forward and take a bigger stand with your story but I support you and I think you can make a difference. You go girl!!!

  7. Jorge    Tue Jun 24, 08:30 AM #  

    Who cares about stupid Sudo? She should have continued to take pictures of her water lilies and leave the police officer alone. in her country they would have cut off her hands, she should be happy she got the camera back.

  8. Franklin    Tue Jun 24, 09:50 AM #  

    Jorge left the above comment on my blog as well.

    Actually, Jorge, they don’t cut peoples’ hands off in Japan. You might consider moving there – they have especially progressive programs for the mentally retarded.

  9. Clyde J. Davis    Wed Jun 25, 05:13 PM #  

    That cop has to be stupid in the extreme, the problem is he has a badge. A stupid man with authority is a very dngerous thing.

    Jorge is another bright light isn’t he, the man is sick and in need of attention.

  10. Momoko Sudo    Thu Jun 26, 11:42 AM #  

    I am attempting to recover the lost photos in the 1GB memory card. I’ve tried, so far, four programs that claim to recover the data. Two of them didn’t work. One of them costs me $40 but allowed me to see the previews of retrieved photos. The thought of being have to pay any amount of money makes me upset.

    There are 373 photos and they are all high resolution files. One of the programs is free and seems to be working but it will take a few hours to scan it. If it doesn’t work, I will use the one that would cost $40.

    There’s only ONE picture that is clearly related to Coral Gables Police!

    The program is scanning the card, but it take a long time because the date is huge. I will keep you posted.

  11. Momoko Sudo    Thu Jun 26, 07:05 PM #  

    I’ve posted a photo I retrieved by using a paid software. If you’ve been to the page before, you may have to click on ‘reload’ to see it. It is at the bottom so you’ll have to scroll down.

  12. lili    Thu Jun 26, 10:57 PM #  

    Wow, it’s always interesting to read things like this, legit stories and the kind of crap the police pulls.
    There comes a point where the authority needs to chill out and let the citizens live.
    The last photo you posted of the tree is really neat Momoko, I’d be just as upset as you are if an event like this happened to me, especially if they deleted my pictures.
    It’s really good you are taking time out of your life and such to actually make people aware of this event.

  13. Momoko Sudo    Thu Jul 31, 11:28 AM #  

    This gang officer, Nelson Rodriguez, is very dangerous. In 2006, he assaulted a housewife, giving her 4 counts of criminal charges and 3 traffic citations, and ARRESTED HER.

    She was injured but was kept in jail for one day. She was not allowed to call anyone and received no medical attention while in jail.

    It took her nearly a year and a half to have the court drop ALL of criminal charges against her. On that day of the arrest she had gotten 7 injunctions. I think probably one or two injunctions were true, knowing she came from Peru when she was already adult and doesn’t know how to drive. She gets a lot of traffic tickets, but she doesn’t need to be arrested.

    The gang officer, Nelson Rodriguez, made up extra charges just so he could arrest her. Not only that, he called “back ups” so she was assaulted by 5 or 6 officers. This woman is a heavy duty Christian, having no weapon or no skills to fight off. She doesn’t use drugs.

    This is excessive police force for the purpose of retaliation. Several months prior to her arrest, she placed a complaint against another officer for being extremely abusive while giving her a traffic ticket. It was so bad that her small children in the vehicle were traumatized, crying continuously for the rest of the day and not being able to sleep.

    There’s no police in Coral Gables, but they have Coral Gables Gang Organization.

  14. Momoko Sudo    Thu Jul 31, 11:52 AM #  

    This gang officer, Nelson Rodriguez, failed to tell her why she was going to be arrested. I think he made up the charges AFTER he arrested her because Rodriguez didn’t know what she was being arrested for.

    This Peruvian house wife kept asking why she was being arrested, but no one told her why because there wasn’t really a reason.

    I would like to add that Coral Gable police KILLED a 29 years old BLACK man by putting a taser gun. It was January this year. This man was not doing anything that implies a danger to anyone or to himself. He was acting like he was either drunk or high on something, yelling and talking crap and jumping around.

    They are the true gangs. The police murdered the black man who was just attending a party in Coral Gables!

    The Coral Gables police department is also being sued for dispatching 23 police officers to a private home for the purpose of harassing people in the house.