The weather was still cold in Miami, especially in the shadows of the Federal Courthouse.
When we arrived Julian pulled out his clipboard to write down the time. No sooner had he done that than, the guard was over asking him questions about what he was writing down. Here is what transpired:-
As you can see in the video, one of the guards attempts to cause trouble by walking up and harassing us. Courts have ruled which you can see here and here that there is no expectation of privacy while out in public.
After sticking around the Federal Courthouse for a while we moved on because of the lack of people to whom to pass out brochures.
I decided to go to Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus. Here there were a lot of people. The college had an event going on and the students were very accepting of the brochures that we were handing to them.
One of the campus police officers came up to Julian and asked him for a brochure and started to read it.
Later Travis Kimmel joined us at the college while we were still waiting for Carlos Miller to arrive.
We were running out of brochures, so I gave what I had left to Julian and Travis to distribute while I was gone.
I picked up more brochures and as I was walking back to the campus my phone rang, it was Julian. Julian was being told by the police that if he did not move he was going to be arrested. I hurried back and asked the police what was going on. They told me that they had had orders to tell Julian to move and if he did not he would be arrested. Julian started to take off his bag and was starting to hand me his stuff. When I asked him what he was doing, he said that he was going to get arrested. I told him to put his bag back on because, no one was going to get arrested.
Here is the video of this encounter.
I asked the officer for the name of the person making the complaint and, he told me that it was the dean. I asked for the dean’s name and number and then called the dean. The dean was not available so I asked to speak with the assistant dean which I did. I explained that what we were doing was educational outreach and, not commercial hand billing. The assistant dean did not care. He told me that we were on college property, but I interrupted him and noted that the property was paid for by tax payers money and that sidewalks are traditional public forums for Freedom of Speech. I asked the assistant dean, “Are you squelching my First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech at a public school that is paid for by tax payers’ dollars?” He replied “Mr. Cox, do what ever you want to do” and then hung up. The police officer came back over and asked what was said. I explained that we can do what we want to do. The officer got on the radio and came back laughing saying “You can do whatever you want to do Mr. Cox.”
While all this was going on, Carlos was calling me, trying to find my whereabouts. I was brief with Carlos telling him that I had to go, that Julian was about to be arrested, to which he replied “Tell him to wait till I get there.”
We carried on distributing FIJA brochures to the students at Miami Dade College.
Carlos arrived and Interviewed Julian and me.
Here is part of Carlos’s interview with Julian.
After the interview we decided to go back to the Federal Courthouse.
Julian was behind with Travis and his dog and Carlos was in front.
I told Julian not to pass out FIJA brochures while walking between the Federal Courthouse and the detention center. As we were walking I looked back to see where Julian was and he was passing out brochures. I yelled over to Julian not to do that, and then all hell broke loose. Carlos was taking photographs of the Federal Courthouse when a marshal yelled, telling him to stop, and that he was not allowed to do that. This video shows what happened next:-
The marshal in the guard box called his supervisor who argued that the sidewalk that we were on was Federal government property. Here is that conversation.
After talking to the marshals and standing our ground asserting our rights that we do have a right to film and pass out brochures on the sidewalk, we moved on to the new Federal Courthouse across the street. Yet again we were harassed for filming on Federal property.
Here is the video:-
The guards outside the new Federal Courthouse were not happy with us being there, especially because three of us had cameras. The guards called Homeland Security/Federal Protective Services, after which two vehicles arrived with three officers.
After the officers told the guards that we could film they started to leave, and Julian had this to say about not being arrested:-
Just when we though it was all over the guards came back to harass us more:-
Despite the harassment and the time talking to these guys we distributed over 1,000 brochures in Miami.