SPJ Legal Defense Fund grant aids photographer’s defenseFor Immediate Release:
Darcie Lunsford, President, South Florida Pro Chapter (954) 949-7523
Dave Aeikens, Legal Defense Fund Chairman, (320) 255-8744
Julie Kay, Past President, Member, Legal Defense Fund Committee, (954) 303-3384
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Society of Professional Journalists’ Legal Defense Fund has awarded a $1,000 grant to a Miami photojournalist arrested while taking photographs on a Miami street Feb. 20.
The Legal Defense Fund collects and distributes funds to help journalists defend the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
SPJ decided Monday to award the grant to veteran photojournalist Carlos Miller, to pay his legal bill.
Miller, a freelancer on assignment for the Web site Category 305 , was doing a story about Miami’s rapid gentrification. He happened upon several Miami police officers interrogating a man and began taking photos. Police ordered him to stop and to cross the street. He identified himself as a journalist and refused, saying the street was public. Police then allegedly threw him to the ground, threatened to taser him and arrested him. Miller spent the night in jail.
Miller was charged with five counts of failure to obey a police officer and one count each of obstructing justice, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence. He's due in court March 14 at 11:30 a.m., in Room 2-11 of the Miami-Dade Courthouse, 1351 NW 12th St.
The South Florida chapter of SPJ has called for a review of the police actions and declared its support of Miller.
Miller is a Miami native who worked as a police reporter for the Arizona Republic and for several other newspapers in Arizona, New Mexico and California before returning to South Florida in 2005. He freelances for a number of local and national publications, including People Magazine.
The Society of Professional Journalists is one of the nation’s largest and oldest journalism –advocacy organizations. SPJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, and based in Indianapolis, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed public, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ and SDX, as well as the Legal Defense Fund, please visit www.spj.org.