Miami-Dade School Officials Force Student and PINAC Reader to Delete Footage of Security Guard...

Discussion in 'Photography, Law & Travel' started by Carlos Miller @ PINAC, Dec 4, 2012.

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    Joel Franco posing with the camera he earned from his Youtube earnings
    Joel Franco, the 17-year-old aspiring journalist from Miami who’s been written about on PINAC before, was threatened with a ten-day suspension today if he didn’t delete a video showing a school security guard body slamming another student to the ground.​
    The high school junior said that up until then, he was steadfastly refusing to delete the video, even after a security guard grabbed him from behind and shoved him against the wall.​
    But a ten-day suspension could cause “major setbacks” for him at American High School in Hialeah, a working class suburb in Miami-Dade County, so he reluctantly obliged.​
    “When they told me I would be suspended, I started panicking,” he said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.
    “I didn’t want to ruin everything for a video, so I deleted it.”
    But he’s not happy about it and now he is trying to recover the video from his Samsung Galaxy phone.​
    I advised him not to record anything else on it until he recovered the video before providing him with a link to PhotoRec, a free program which was very efficient in recovering the video that was deleted by Miami-Dade police after my January arrest.​
    But I’m not sure if it would work on a smart phone, so if anybody has any suggestions, please list them in the comments.​
    The incident began during lunchtime outside the school cafeteria when Franco noticed a couple of his friends, a boy and a girl, getting into an argument.​
    Franco wasn’t sure why they were arguing about, but it had something to do with something that was said on Twitter.​
    “I saw that it was escalating, so I pulled out my phone to start filming,” he said.​
    A crowd quickly gathered and as the boy got more confrontational, several students grabbed the boy from behind before the altercation became physical.​
    Then a hulking security guard, who Franco describes as being the size of a football lineman, grabbed the boy from behind.​
    When the student tried to pull away from the security guard, the guard spun him around and slammed him to the ground.​
    “It was pretty hard because his glasses fell off,” Franco said. “I picked up his glasses and gave it them back to him.”​
    Once the chaos had subsided, a crowd of students gathered around Franco, wanting to see the video.​
    That drew the attention of another security guard, who demanded he hand his phone over.​
    “I said, ‘no, I have the right to film,’ but he kept asking for it and I just kept repeating that I have the right to film,” he said.​
    “I started to walk away because it was already time to go back to class and the security guard grabbed the strap of my camera back and shoved me against a wall.”​
    That security guard was joined by another security guard and a schoolteacher who kept demanding he hand over his phone, but Franco kept refusing.​
    “I was pretty mad at this point,” he said. “The teacher had to calm me down.”​
    So they marched him to the assistant principal’s office where he encountered the first security guard, the one he had recorded body slamming his friend.​
    “I kept reminding him that I’m not going to give him my phone and he said something like, ‘I will see you in court,’” Franco said.​
    The assistant principal, a man named P. Torres, finally walked in and threatened him with suspension, which is when he agreed to delete it.​
    “But they wanted to see the video first,” he said.​
    “They kept playing it over and over. They seemed to enjoy it. They laughed at one part, but I don’t know which.”​
    Then they handed him the phone back, ordering him to delete it in front of them.​
    And then they gave him a hall pass back to class.​
    But Franco is not happy.​
    “It is public property and I feel I have the right to film stuff, especially something that could jeopardize the guy’s job.​
    “I was looking out for my friend and I wanted people to see the video.”​
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