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Update on Miami-Dade confrontation video: Situation under review. No disciplinary action at this time. Department says they are allowed to secure landing zones.

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The man who took the video of being confronted by a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue captain at a helicopter landing for a stabbing victim told WFOR-TV yesterday “photography is not a crime”. We received a large number of comments about the video after posting it Friday morning. The large majority are critical of the captain for confronting Taylor Hardy and the manner in which he did so.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue says it is reviewing the situation. The initial statement of the department does not address that Hardy was initially ordered to shut down his camera to protect the patient’s privacy. Instead it focuses on the same scene safety issue that the captain voiced rather aggressively with Hardy. Many writing in thought the bigger safety issues was potential contamination from the bloody gloves worn by the captain.

A criminal defense attorney points out to the TV station that Hardy could have easily been arrested for obstruction for failing to follow the captain’s orders. One interesting point is that despite the captain calling on the radio urgently requesting police numerous times for a “combative bystander” Hardy wrote on his YouTube page that no police ever came.


Miami Dade Fire Rescue tells us they are aware of this video. They also told us they are allowed to secure landing zones for rescue helicopters that will protect the public.

Taylor Hardy says he was simply exercising his first amendment rights and only planned to post the video on his blog.

Hardy said he filed a complaint with Miami Dade Fire Rescue.

Miami Dade Fire Rescue tells us they are reviewing the situation and they have not taken any disciplinary action against the Captain at this time.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Former Chief

    MDFR Damage Control in effect. The obligation to secure the scene, yes. The rude, intimidating behavior of the Captain completely inappropriate. They are obviously opposed to anyone videotaping. And remind me not to retain that criminal defense attorney. He may very well be correct that the videographer could have been arrested. But once he showed his recordings, I suspect he would have been cleared of any wrongdoing and probably had a case for false arrest. Just my opinion.

    • Jeff D

      I am in total agreement with you Chief. I think MDFR should take a close look at the Captians actions and recommend some sort of training to deal with these situations.

  • Tim

    Department says ok to assault bystanders with bloody gloves in the name of public safey.

  • Rod Fraser

    No need for this to be a racial item, but the attorney is incorrect. Police were called for several times but none ever came. That has to tell you something! I maintain that if LZ safety is so critical, the zone should have been expanded including blockage of vehicle traffic movement on the pedestrian side of the apparatus. Police should already have been on scene to do crowd/traffic control. The Captain was wrong and he and his bosses know it!

  • james phillips

    Very Nasty on the Captains part. He had nothing secured properly then Takes it out on this guy.

  • I wasted your time. . . .

    Of course nothing is going to come out of this. Its just another video give it a day or 2 other videos on something else will be posted and that’s it. Attention will be shifted there. The experts will voice their opinion this ones right this ones worng. Blah blah blah. . . . Situations come & go today. Nothing is the way it used to be. We live in a faster and faster pace world. Before you only knew what happened around you where you lived. Now you know what is happening on the other side of the world in a minute.

  • Steve Whitehead

    We do our job in public. People have a right to film in public. Always do your job as if you are being filmed. And…If you need to move someone for safety or otherwise…be polite. Smile, show concern and treat people with respect.

    Or end up on Stater911 with all of us reminding you of these facts all over again.

  • Fire21

    Confrontational behavior at the outset is likely to produce only confrontational behavior. I was impressed that Mr. Hardy retained his composure under the attitude and manner in which Capt. Smart accosted him. The Capt obviously was merely upset at the videoing of the scene. If he was concerned with scene safety, he’d have called earlier for street closure to protect vehicles passing by. Despite possibility of being arrested, I feel Mr. Hardy was in the right all along, and would have easily beaten the rap. JMHO.

    The firefighter who got to Mr. Hardy first did try to handle things in a much more calm behavior, but Capt. Smart-a$$ bulled his way in and upset the whole applecart.

    • dave statter

      Just seems to me, only from looking at the video, that the firefighter and captain went out of their way to create an issue that didn’t need to be addressed.

      Of course, this would not be the first time scene security is used as an excuse for censorship. After almost 40 years in news I can tell you nothing makes those in public safety think of scene security like a camera. It was the rule rather than the exception (and the large majority of the time police doing it) that people can be walking all over and near a scene. Only when we showed up with a camera did it become a safety or security issue.

      Usually those in charge can get away with it because they aren’t as obvious and heavy handed as this one. This one might present a few problems for MDFR and the captain.

      It says an awful lot to me that the large majority of those in public safety who have commented see right through the BS on this one. Usually I have an uphill battle trying to make my points about the 1st Amendment.


      • mark

        I was going to mention that Dave, you seem to have had an effect on “us”.

        I can remember not too long ago that there were only a handful of us backing you up when you posted stories like this. Unless there has been a huge turnover in posters to your blog. But still, most were righteously indignant that camerasreporters were bad and anything up to shooting the reporters was acceptable, because they had NO right to be there, etc, etc, etc. And scene safety was a mile away for reporters while the general public could rest against the apparatus, as long as they weren’t in the hot zone.

        So keep up the great work, you are definitely making an impact with many of us. Obviously not MDFR, but you are doing a great job.

        • dave statter

          That’s way too kind Mark. My motivation prior to was just being a strong believer in a free press and despite all the terrible flaws of the news media today (and there are plenty) believe we would be really screwed without them. While I still believe that, the focus has changed a bit and I am hoping, like you said, it is having an impact. My focus now is on education to keep firefighters from being doing stupid things like this in front of cameras, which are everywhere. The fire service has enough challenges that they don’t need these self inflicted wounds.


  • mark

    I don’t believe anybody was debating whether or not they have the right to secure a scene.

    But, if that’s what they call scene safety, there training on scene safety is even worse than their training of the 1st Amendment.

    As for whether or not he could be arrested, sure he could be arrested. People are arrested all the time and released when the District Attorney determines there was no reason for it. People are acquitted of alleged crimes regularly as well. People also sue for violations of civil rights.

  • NJ FF

    If scene safety was a concern, why did they wait til the end of the the incident to move him along?

  • John F. Woodard, Sr.

    This can go so many ways I will only address the LZ issue. If this was such a big concern of the captain then he should have gone to the ff standing in the street and tell him to secure the area and NOT let vehicles pass. Instead for whatever reason he unloads on this bystander and actually touches him with a bloody glove. He the captain was totally out of line and control. He needs some time off and needs to take or retake a class in dealing with the public. Also if this was such an issue why weren’t the POLICE on scene to do I believe their job?

  • Bob

    Neither of those firefighters had any legitimate reason to approach this videographer. He was staying in one place, well out of the way of operations, didn’t interfere, or pose any type of hazard serious enough to be accosted in the way he was. Kudos for keeping his cool. The second the first ff made the motion to stop taking video, he was dead wrong. No one has any expectation of privacy when in a public location, so their argument that it was “private” is ridiculous. Something tells me “Capt. Smart” may be “Lt. Smart” very soon, and the city may be shelling out some dollars to the videographer l- especially in light of the obvious blood contact between the two.

    • Fire21

      I’m betting the 1st firefighter was taking orders from the Capt.

  • Another Dave

    In the video it looked like the Captain had a pretty good walk to get to this guy. It also looked like the apparatus was awfully close to the helicopter. And finally, the defence attorney was quick to say what the camera guy could be charged with but he left out what the Captain should be charged with.

  • slackjawedyokel

    black eye for the fire service – sure it was personal. Scene safety -dont piss on my leg and tell me its raining.

  • Chief 62

    Thanks Dave for this very timely expose on how business shouldn’t be conducted in the year 2013. I am faciliatating a cultural awareness training session upcoming and this will be a great lead in. Consider I have very high respect for someone from this Department, a certain keynote speaker of FDIC we both know who is a shining example of an ambassador for MDFR and this idiot, yes I’ll use that term is a complete and utter embarassment for a firefighter operating in a public environment.

    As a Chief Officer if this had occurred in our Department I would have been compelled to suspend this Officer, remove him from the workplace and be seen by a staff psychologist, then arrange to send him to Anger Management training as there are several visual indicators this individual needs immediate help. For a non issue to escalate to the extent that this Captain was almost foaming at the mouth, pure hatred in his eyes, breaking about every rule of leadership qualities there are is most amazing.

    I realize the USA has some very different applications of case law than we do, none the less unless the videotape has been edited, altered in anyway or not 100% accurate this firefighter needs help, the sooner the better, just based on how he presents. Its funny I don’t remember being given the Authority to order anyone off a public street, stop filming, order someone to back up, continue to back up etc. being a firefighter. We have police services who are better trained to do such and under their rules of engagement if in harms way they are rightfully to be moved back.

    I hope the City of Miami and my colleague Chief see fit to issue an apology to the videographer, deal with their troubled firefighter and perhaps deal with the broader issue of officer acceptable conduct, abuse of granted authority, expectations of an officer, code of conduct in general because something is hugely missing here. It makes it really hard on the hundreds of other Miami-Dade members and as you always say Sir, get out ahead of it and quickly past it, or in this case quickly past it. A department needs these types of issues like a hole in the fleet. Many of you realize this is but a speedbump in Miami news time, none the less the real issue is this FD members approach, conduct and ability to make a stress free calll into a major to do over what??

    Now its been awhile since I have keyboarded on Statter so from a leaders perspective allow me this. Safety Zone was a joke, I believe MDFR runs 3 man engines and 3 man Medic Rescues, so that leaves 6 personnel on this LZ effort. We clearly see one member in front of the helo, while I watched both versions it was hard to account for anymore, unless that was one out in the middle of the street. I suppose its possible the balance of the engine crew were inside the mini Braun bus they use, which would account for Cpt.Smart to be able to leave and bring along a second ff with him. Now this in case anyone caught it was known as a hot landing, the rotors never stopped, which is the scariest most dangerous loads we encounter. Perhaps these helo drops in Miami are so common place all rules of wearing PPE and being prepared for the unexpected are laise faire, certainly not to us. Whose safety was being looked after while he chose, that is right chose to engage in a useless unneeded confrontation, his men? the helo crew? any citizens driving by gawking at the scene? Was there any control at all being conducted, not from the videographer viewpoint we see. So the position MDFR is resting on is completely full of holes and anyone seeing this and know the real issues would laugh at that defense, surely they could have done better. If one talks the talk then at least complete the walk properly!

    We use the accepted helo ground rule of 200 by 200 square, this LZ was in what appears a vacant field, the apparatus placement was it seems close to the actual drop they directed but it may in fact been further away. This indicated to me that the critical victim/patient was transported from somewhere else location incident, and this was the point established for pickup. So how does one take an ordinary everyday Medevac and turn it into a Public Relations nightmare, just add an unstable Fire Officer with Authority Issues who it appears to be in the wrong Public Service career. When we teach the new generation we have at our disposal a treasure chest of what and how not to behave in your literal face examples, thanks in no small part to Dave Statter and his companions.

    As firefighters, more especially Officers we are looked upon by the Public we serve to be caring-compassionate-thoughtful-daring-brave-considerate-helpful-honest-trustworthy-of good character-non abusive-tolerant-non judgemental-non racist-devoid of mental issues-capable of handling stress,respectful to others and finally being fair and applying that to one and all. The difference that sets us apart when chaos is all around us is we have structure and order when applicable, so in the lack of structure and order we then create chaos where none existed?

    I wonder what happened to a great deal of that on this Medical call in Miami this week? As always Sir, thank you very much and keep em coming, they are extremely enlightening.

    • RJ in flrorida

      No disrespect chief but in the absence of a past anger problem, sending a guy to BM class is a waste of time and designed to appease people. I’m not defending what the captain did but he violated a guy’s consituitional rights, comitted an act of battery and possibly abandonded a patient under his care.

      I agree with those that say that there is a past between these guys because when the capatins authority was not being obeyed, he called the cop and made up a nonexistant situation
      because he was not winning the dispute. In law enforcement its called “contempt of cop” and in this case, because photographer abuse at the hands of a government offcial be he police, fire or ems in deference to the law is no longer being tolorated. this is going to be used for generations as an example of what not to do but whats done is done and i dont think that an apology reguardless of who it comes from is going to do it in this case. people are fed up with their rights being trampeled on. i can see this case going all the way because even after the guy moved back, the captain was still on his case

      lawyers are lining up to do this one

  • Sally

    Pretty sums up why they are so upset. Not an excuse, but check out all of this guy’s posts on youtube. The union hating media has turned many against us. Sad, but it’s the environment we have to be aware of, and act accordingly to.

    • dave statter

      Most of this so called “union hating” media in the larger cities are union members. I was one for 30 years, a shop steward and the member of the executive board.

      • Sally

        The ones deciding what to put on air aren’t union members. I’m not talking about the ones on the street, I’m talking the Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Koch Brothers etc….. They are spending millions annually to rid this nation of the middle class to fatten their pockets. The union ff’s, police officers, and teachers are nearly all that’s left of the middle class. Hell, the teachers aren’t even that high anymore. It’s an organized elite attack, and the pensions are a big chunk of money that they want transferred to their accounts. I live in South Florida, and the ff’s salaries are published on the front page of the local papers every month. Pensions, health benefits, everything with slogans of unaffordabiity, etc…. The Koch brothers tax authority board sits in on contract negotiations, and publish what is said. Just my opinion, but it’s apparent class warfare, and the best way to get their agenda accomplished is to get the public to resent us.

    • bill

      Even the most “union hating media” STILL has the right to videotape from a public street, while filming events that are in clear, public view, while not causing any disturbance or distraction to those operating.

    • Frank

      that wasn’t the union hating media shooting his mouth off.

    • mpatk

      Sad to say, the MDFR Captain gave this asshat exactly what he was looking for: a confrontation where the asshat gets to show the “arrogance” that he’s been claiming on all his other videos.

      MDFR should thank Captain Smart for supplying the truth to this asshat’s lies.

  • old man 1

    Captain smart ass needs a rank reduction and some anger management.

  • old man 1

    Captain smart ass needs some serious anger management.

  • RJ in flrorida

    Dave: now that i’ve had time to calm down i see several issues here. First of all the scene was not secure (cars were driving through). the presence of the videographer was not an issue until they came out of the ambulance and spotted him (which raises the question of wether or no these guys have a past-i’m betting that they were. when the first FF approached the guy with a slashing motion and saying “this is private” (suggesting HIPPA) this is where it starts going wrong. the captains actions of “unwanted touching” (battery in the state of florida) is the capt/department’s first problem. second is touching him with bloody gloves which is another issue. calling the cops for and indicating violence (is transmitting false information to the cops) and by the urgency in his voice, the cops could have rolled code3 for nothing. (him keying the mic while talking to him was another attempt to create a non existant problem

    Now we come to race

    because of the past actions of others in the MDFD over trayvon martins case, the race card might be on the table but since there was no racial words on the tape, that might be nullified BUT SE florida politics are funny and that could be the end for this captain (based on MD’s past handeling of these type of cases) just to pacify the photographer and the public

    but clearly this could have been handeled better and Capt smart was plain dumb and will probibly be demoted (if the trend says anything)

    having been in this situation myself i would have not stopped taping either because the courts have ruled that videotaping whatever goes on in the public eye is fair game except where there is an expectation of privacy and hippa is not a factor here at all

    thank you for standing up for videographers and photographers rights…Capt Smart prepare to update your resume and miami dade county, prepare to part with some cash

    “We’re investigating the incident” in florida means “we’re getting our story straight and decideing how we’re going to handle this”

    • dave statter

      I think your analysis is pretty accurate.

  • Still No.1 Statter Fan from Virginia

    What a joke. A video of two idiots. Really? This is something over nothing. Love to see all these resident experts. Who ever that dude was taking the video obviously has no life so he has to get involved in other people’s business. I wish I had time to do things like that, instead of having to work all the time to support my family.
    Me, I don’t care, take your pictures and videos. Please don’t show the victims face or idenifying features. You could cause alot of pain to somebody’s family. Show some respect while going about your Constitionally protected activites (While you can, Obama trying to get rid of it as quick as he can.). You can film your event and get your story while having class at the same time. If that was your family or kin all busted up in that horriable car wreck that you have to film, would you want your loved one’s face all over the newspaper?
    As far as the Captain goes, “Be Nice”. Yes, Chief Bruniacini had it right. “Be Nice”. We are public servants. If you want to boss people around, join the cops. You get a long way in this world by trying to “Be Nice” first to people and ask for cooperation. Yes, sometimes it does not work despite your best efforts but always try to “Be Nice”. In that case, call the Law and let them deal with it. I can’t believe I have a multiple alarm fire in my city with all kinds of action, and I can’t get no coverage on here, but this gets on here. Really Sumptin. Maybe I am going to have to quit reading this blog and start reading Fire Critic, Haw Haw

  • http://Hollywood613 Hollywood613

    Before you make any comments, I would recommend that you go to YouTube and watch the entire 10 minutes of the posted video. I think the little bit of video posted on the news channel made it a bit more inflammatory than it truly was. I’m not defending Captain Smart’s position at all, he definitely made some PR mistakes (including touching someone with dirty gloves). Also, you get a better view of the posting of manpower and set up of the LZ, there were FF in proper PPE for the landing of the helo.

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  • http://h Too Old To Work

    News flash: “MDFR management doubles down on bad decision making, makes entire department look silly.”

    Film at 11.

  • Dr. Tom Phelan

    There could be times when safety is the priority. This wasn’t one of them. My take: it was racist.

  • FF Wife

    This Cpt. is just WRONG from start to finish. He should not have to go throuh training or be demoted, he should be FIRED! ANY other DEPARTMENT in this country would NOT tolerate this kind of behavior from one of their people. Fire service is a profession that daily you may be required to put your life on the line for for others. Because of that, this profession is one that gets the utmost of respect. Cpt. Smart just pissed that down the drain for every FF in this country because he is on a power rush. Nothing that came out of his mouth was true, he is full of crap. What if it were a reporter standing there filming? Would he have acted the same way? This guy should file suit against Cpt Smart and MDFD. I feel that if this jerk is not FIRED we should all keep our TOURIST DOLLARS out of MIAMI in protest!!!!! Maybe that will help the officals at MDFD make the right choice.

    Come on MDFD, don’t protect this jerk. Show America what the Fire Service is really all about. That these men and women are out there to serve and protect us all. That they are honorable and GOOD men and women. Respectful and worth repecting. Do the right thing here. Don’t let one ass bring you all down.

    FF Wife