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Harrassed in Miami by Metrorail Chief of Security

Posted by HarryP on Thu May 14 19:04:28 2009

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This week I was on vacation in south Florida. We were staying at a beach resort in Ft. Lauderdale. On Weds., May 13, my last day before traveling on to Tampa, I decided to treat myself to a day of railfanning in Miami. I parked at the TriRail station at Sheridan St., and took TriRail into the city. I then transferred to Metrorail. After a day of railfanning, I was waiting for a n/b Metrorail train at Government Center and took a photo of an approaching s/b train from the north end of the n/b platform, as it gives a good view of the People Mover below. At this time, I was approached by a well-dressed young man who demanded to know "what I was taking pictures of." I told him frankly that I was taking pictures of the train, and asked him what business is it of his.

He then stated that he was Chief of Security & Safety for Metrorail, and that I could not take any photos of Metrorail trains or stations w/o having an access permit. I explained that I was a tourist and was on my way back to Ft. Lauderdale. Furthermore, I said I didn't see the need for a permit at all, since photography is a legal activity. I mentioned that in other cities, transit systems have realized this and have dropped their restrictions on photography.

He kept insisting that I could not take pictures. When I asked him the reason, he wouldn't answer the question, and when I brought up the issue of constitutional rights, he just smirked. Even though he wasn't nasty about it, his arrogant smirk really set me off, and I told him that I was going to file a complaint. I asked for his name. He told me his name is Eric Muntan.

I fully intend to file a complaint and contact the Florida chapter of the ACLU, and to see if I can also get it into the local media. It's a disgrace how arrogant these tax-funded government agencies have become, thinking that they are way above the law and can push people around at will!

I would've posted this last night, but our wireless internet access was unavailable. I arrived in Tampa late this afternoon. The open "Breezer" was in the barn being serviced. With luck, it will be out tomorrow, if it doesn't rain. :-(

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