I guess I chickened out, but I recovered my images and avoided jail or worse.
You didn’t chicken out you used a good dose of common sense, City of Miami police officers are a strange breed and while I cannot prove it, it is commonly rumored there are on the edge of the thin blue line gangs within that department, in other words the responding officer and his backups will have one common story versus your singular story should something shall we say as a “not legal action” by an officer goes down.
Police corruption is a long ingrained thing down here, for example many years ago I was photographing the Miami riots after Arthur McDuffie had his skull caved in by a group of City of Miami officers doing a traffic stop where acquitted of the charges against them.
I was in Overtown photographing a number of rioters who at the time had chased off a news crew while one of them was using the cameraman’s abandoned camcorder held by the lens to smash the windows out of their abandoned car which was eventually set on fire.
While wrapping up I was approached by two Metro-Dade officers who advised me in no uncertain terms I needed to leave the area as it was “unsafe” for me to be there, I being a bit naive and fitting into the area disagreed and suddenly found myself smashed to the sidewalk and in the process had the lens of my camera chop through my lower lip and chipping a good sized chunk of an upper front tooth out somewhere else.
I was pulled back to my feet and once again advised to leave the area “for my safety” and bleeding profusely from my face and enduring the pain of a broken tooth I considered their advice to be some good advice and quickly retreated back home to Broward.