Journalists Sue Fort Lauderdale Over Photography Ban, Plan Himmarshee "Lunch-In"

Categories: Crime, Politics
rock-of-ages-photo-ban.jpg
Carlos Miller
Fort Lauderdale has a lawsuit on its hands after letting a movie production company put up bogus no-trespassing signs, which attempted to prohibit photography by citing a random city ordinance.

The Hollywood film Rock of Ages is being filmed around the Himmarshee Village area. Several journalists and photographers were told they're not allowed to take pictures there, despite the presence of many bars, eateries, and open sidewalks nearby.

Attorney (and South Florida Gay News publisher) Norm Kent has filed a civil suit against the city and Police Chief Frank Adderly, whose police officers have been helping to enforce the photography ban.

"The police have become unwitting agents of unconstitutionality," wrote Kent in a news release. "Freedom of expression, which includes photography, cannot be controlled by movie studios from Hollywood, even if Tom Cruise is in the film." See below for the full complaint. An excerpt:

The 'No Trespassing' signs which have been posted at the entrances to three city blocks and which law enforcement officers are enforcing contain a misrepresentation of state and local law, and present a false statement of law to the general public as well as members of the media, and operate to chill and deny First Amendment protections guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States of America.

Miami photography-rights activist Carlos Miller has been documenting the bogus ban on his blog, Photography Is Not a Crime. He says the city is too ready to kowtow to local film productions.

"They're so happy to be getting big Hollywood films shooting in Fort Lauderdale rather than Miami," he says. "In Miami, they would know what they can and cannot [enforce]."

Miller is organizing a "lunch-in" for this Friday: he's encouraging people to stop by SW Second Street at 1 p.m. to buy lunch in a local establishment -- "carrying and clicking their SLRs and smartphone cameras," according to the news release.

Michael Koretzky is helping to organize the "lunch-in," and he's president of the South Florida Society of Professional Journalists, a co-plaintiff in the suit.

"We're going to buy lots of food and take lots of pictures," says Koretzky. "Of each other, of police, of buildings, of everything. We plan to be well-fed criminals."

That's a good point: Regardless of whether the ban is unconstitutional, Fort Lauderdale cops have chosen to enforce it and may be making arrests.

Miller is willing to stand up to the police: "If they try to arrest us, fine. I'll be sticking a camera in their face interviewing them."

Rock of Ages Complaint
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12 comments
Sbehofsits
Sbehofsits

Confused... Buy lunch & snap photos... Where you are allowed to do so? As far as I know, you are not prohibited to take photos on the street where eateries are. As far as I know, the signs block off side streets where in fact the movie company has paid to use certain venues and there are no open businesses where you can eat and are prohibited from taking photos. Citing the wrong ordinance? Ok. But do we really want to feed the craziness that already surrounds celebrities? Maybe I am missing something. Maybe photographers should be allowed to take pictures from the fake signs but I don't see much wrong with blocking off a couple of minor streets so people can get on with their work.

Howard Joey
Howard Joey

the city of fort Lauderdale is going down, they gona lose big time.  

Parklandman
Parklandman

Norman Kent wow suing the city of fort laud, Norman don't you remember the city of ft laud stopping us from selling time sharing on ft laud beach in 1980 and we had to be 150 ft off A1A,You were a criminal lawyer back then,I hired Norman Kent for my first trail 30 years ago and won,This might sound funny coming from me but he is a very good lawyer,but now that he's suing I have to root for ft laud to win!

HappyTinfoil Cat
HappyTinfoil Cat

My guess is the cops are double-dipping, being paid to serve and protect, at the same time being paid to purge and deflect. Conflict of interest. I wonder if I paid the cops more than the studios do, I could convince them to defend and protect the constitution. The best police money can buy.

John Henry
John Henry

Ft Lauderdale has turned into a "police State." 

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

I have heard rumors that people have actually been arrested for this, and that it is not just an empty threat like I had assumed it would be when you guys first wrote about the issue. Any idea if that is true?

nanook5
nanook5

"unwitting" agents of unconstitutionality? people this naive that want to play with the police are going to get hurt....

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Did you read the complaint? The public was being asked to stop taking photos with their cell phone cameras from well outside the designated "no trespassing" perimeter.

Howard Joey
Howard Joey

your not making any sense, you dont like FT LAUD, and you like that lawyer, [he won your case you said?] but you wishing the the city wins?   say what?

nanook5
nanook5

no one has been arrested for this particular situation but people are getting arrested or having their property stolen for it all the time!

Parklandman
Parklandman

Hey I love fort laud,I been here 30 years moved here at 17 I hired norm Kent at 18,your are 100 percent Right i fn hate lawyers,and even the lawyers I hire know I don't like them but they always take my check,and some times you have to use them like it or knot.I worked timesharing from 1980 to 1990 in-between the candy store and pen rods are you fn kidding me I love this place,spring break were drunk lol

nanook5
nanook5

he hates lawyers. please try not to provoke him.

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