Photography is Not a Crime

Photography is Not a Crime, abbreviated to PINAC and published under the trade names PINAC News, is an organization and news website that focuses on rights of civilians who photograph and film police and other government organizations in the United States. It was founded in 2007 following the arrest of its creator, Carlos Miller, a veteran news reporter and photojournalist, and incorporated in June 2014 as PINAC Inc., a Florida not-for-profit corporation.

Type of site
Available inEnglish
OwnerPhotography is Not Crime, LLC
Created byCarlos Miller
Current statusActive


In early 2007, Miller was on assignment for an article about the Biscayne Boulevard area of Miami, Florida. He observed five police officers interviewing an individual and began to take photographs. The officers asked Miller to move on, but he refused, informing them that he was on public property, where he held the right to photograph. The officers then arrested him for numerous misdemeanor offenses, including resisting arrest.[fn 1][4][5][6][7] Miller created the blog as a result of his arrest, the freedom of the press and free speech violations by the Miami Police Department, and his desire to educate the public on the issue of the right of Americans to document the activities of public officials in the performance of their duties.

First Amendment issues

PINAC focuses on First Amendment issues that intersect with governmental oppression of those rights, normally by police officers. It also gives civilians tips on how to interact with the police and assert their constitutionally protected rights.[8]

General arrests

A large number of police departments have harassed or made arrests of civilian photographers for charges such as obstruction[9] and making terror threats.[10][11]

Wiretapping arrests

PINAC has covered a number of cases during which police officers have misused wiretapping laws against civilians such as Anthony Graber in Maryland. Graber was arrested after he posted a video of a police contact on YouTube.[fn 2][14]

Homeland security

In addition, there have been numerous examples in which police or security officers have erroneously told civilians that filming or taking pictures of a particular building is unlawful and a violation, due to either national security or homeland security reasons. Examples covered in the blog include a police officer advising that photographing the National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch was prohibited,[15] and similar examples involving photographing an art exhibit in downtown Indianapolis,[16] and a train station in New York City.[17][18]

Police coverup

PINAC has documented a number of cases in which police officers seized cameras and cell phones or deleted photographs or video, apparently in an effort to cover up police misconduct, such as the unjustified killing of Oscar Grant by BART police officers.[19] In some cases, police have been accused of tampering with evidence by deleting photographs or videos. For example, in Broward County, an off-duty deputy sheriff pulled over a motorist, and then illegally seized and destroyed her cell phone in an attempt to get rid of the video that she had taken of police misconduct.[20]

Media recognition

General media

The blog has been featured or discussed in a number of mainstream publications, ranging from Playboy[21][22] to The Washington Post.[14] PINAC has also been mentioned in The Boston Globe[23] and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel,[24] among others.

Law reviews and journals

The blog has also been cited in law reviews. It has appeared in the Tennessee Law Review,[25] the Quinnipiac Law Review,[26] and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.[27]

See also


  1. Miller was later acquitted of all charges except the resisting arrest charge, and that charge was overturned on appeal. Miller was supported during the trial by the Society of Professional Journalists, who contributed $3,000 towards his defense.[1][2][3]
  2. The use of wiretapping laws to suppress photographers clearly violate the First Amendment, and courts have noted that public officers in a public place have no expectation of privacy.[12][13]


  1. SPJ Legal Defense Fund grant aids photographer's defense, Press Release, Society of Professional Journalists, (March 9, 2007).
  2. SPJ leaders express disappointment in First Amendment violation in Miami, Press Release, Society of Professional Journalists. (June 19, 2008).
  3. Miller v. State, No. 08-326 (Fla. Cir. Ct. 2009). via Scribd.
  4. Evan Benn, Photojournalist claims unjust arrest, Miami Herald blog (February 27, 2007, 8:16 PM).
  5. Bob Norman, Cat305 Journo Arrested, Boward-Palm Beach New Times blog (February 27, 2007, 3:08 PM).
  6. Mark Frauenfelder, Take a picture in Miami, go to jail, Boingboing (February 28, 2007, 7:01 PM).
  7. Radley Balko, Straight Talk: Videotaping Police, (June 19, 2007).
  8. How to photograph police, 43 Reason 14. (2011).
  9. Martha Nell, Constitutional Law: Supreme Court Gives Nod to Citizens Who Record Police, Amidst Reports of Multiple Arrests, (November 26, 2012).
  10. John Pacenti, Recording nets terror charge for videographer, Fulton County Daily Report, September 13, 2011, at 5.(subscription required)
  11. Richard Brenneman, 2008 Proved a Dismal Year for an Ailing Fourth Estate, Berkeley Daily Planet, January 8–14, 2009, at 7.
  12. Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011)
  13. State v. Graber, No. 12-K-10-647, 2010 Md. Cir. Ct. LEXIS 7 (Md. Cir. Ct. Sept. 27, 2010).
  14. Annys Shin, From YouTube to your local court; Video of traffic stop sparks debate on whether police are twisting Md. wiretap laws, Wash. Post, June 16, 2010, at A1.
  15. Morgan Leigh Manning, Less than Picture Perfect: The Legal Relationship between Photographers' Rights and Law Enforcement, 78 Tenn. L. Rev. 110-11 nn40-49 (2010).
  16. Manning, at 110-11, nn. 40-49.
  17. Manning, at 112-13 nn. 64-73.
  18. Ahnalese Rushmann, Photographers tangle with vague rules in transit hubs, 33 News Media & the Law 34 n. 2 (2009).
  19. The Substance of Truth 160 (Tolu Olorunda ed. 2011).
  20. David Smiley & Diana Moskovitz, A history of cops vs. cameras in Miami Beach, Miami Herald, June 14, 2011.
  21. Tim Mohr, No photos allowed: who will protect us from the protectors?, Playboy, Nov. 1, 2009, at 126.
  22. Carlos Miller, Guess who made this month's Playboy Magazine? (not just Marge Simpson) Photography is Not a Crime: PINAC, Oct. 26, 2009, accessed Nov. 17, 2013.
  23. Mark Baard, Swann's latest security device has that sinister vibe, Boston Globe, July 5, 2010, at Business 7.
  24. Ihosvani Rodriguez, Lauderdale enforcing no-photo rule at 'Rock of Ages' filming location, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, June 9, 2011, at 1B.
  25. Manning, at 109-114.
  26. Mario Cerame, The Right to Record Police in Connecticut, 30 Quinnipiac L. Rev 385 (2012).
  27. Seth F. Kreimer, Pervasive Image Capture and the First Amendment: Memory, Discourse, and the Right to Record, 159 U. Pa. L. Rev. 335 (2011).
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