Robert Chandler, the Florida public records specialist who has been assisting me in my case against the Miami-Dade Police Department, including uncovering the fact that its Homeland Security Bureau had been monitoring my Facebook page before my arrest, has sued the department over failing to produce public records in a timely manner.
The records in question include the personnel file of Major Nancy Perez, the public information officer who arrested me on the night of the Occupy Miami Eviction, as well as her cell phone records from that night.
My attorney, Arnold Trevilla, had also requested her personnel file months ago but has not received anything.
Meanwhile, we’ve already had to have two trials continued because of her lies and refusal to provide public records.
The first trial was continued because she told my attorney during a deposition that she had no idea who I was when she was arrested me on January 31, thinking I was just another activist, which is why she said nothing to the horde of journalists standing around while I was arrested for refusing to disperse.
But because of one of Chandler’s request, we learned that Perez received an email from the department’s Homeland Security Bureau, informing her that “Miami multimedia journalist Carlos Miller” would be documenting the eviction, proving she knew exactly who I was.
The second trial was continued because Perez refused three requests from my attorney to produce the department’s standard operating procedures in how officers should deal with the media. Perez, who heads the department’s media relations division, said she simply was waiting for my attorney to pay the $17 fee, but she had never invoiced him.
We ended up receiving a copy of the procedures but only a day before the trial, which did not give my attorney enough time to prepare. And the only reason we received it was because Chandler had filed a public records request.
But Chandler had also asked for Perez’s personnel record more than two months ago, which came to a cost of almost $400. I paid the fee through a money order shortly after and Chandler was told that it was only a matter of redacting certain information before they could provide us the records.
But here we are approaching my third trial, which is scheduled for November 7, and they still haven’t provided the records, which prompted Chandler’s lawsuit.
Chandler, who lives near Tampa, mailed me the lawsuit last week and I went down to the Miami-Dade Courthouse to file it on his behalf.
He included an “application for determination of civil indigent status,” which allowed him to file the suit without paying the $400 fee.
But the clerks at the Miami-Dade County courthouse refused to accept the form at first, which resulted in a five-hour ordeal that I captured in the above video.
The form I was trying to submit has been approved by the Florida Supreme Court, but it is slightly different than the one used by the Miami-Dade Courthouse, which is why they refused to accept it, even though I had scanned and email their version of the form to Chandler, who signed it and emailed it back to me.
They finally accepted the form after I had threatened to sue them and Chandler had called the clerk of courts demanding to speak to their general counsel.
The video is long at 12 minutes, but there is a lot I left out considering the entire escapade lasted five hours, something that should have taken no more than 15 minutes.
Chandler, who has filed countless lawsuits throughout Florida using the same form they kept refusing, provided the following statement:
Time and again public officials have thumbed their nose to Florida Law (F.S. 57) that forces the courts to be at little to no cost for indigent persons. It took you the better part of a day to get this case filed, where it should have only been 15 minutes at most. A majority of people attempting to exercise their rights do not have the time to spend a day to try to file a case defending their wrongful eviction or some other predatory practice being used against them.