NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A North Miami Beach resident said he received some troubling treatment when he attended a City Commission meeting, and he said it had to do with a recorder he brought with him.
It was a hectic scene at the North Miami Beach City Hall on Tuesday as several police officers surrounded the exterior of the building.
“This is Mubarak Kazan, and he’s being kicked out,” said a man recording cellphone video. “Police are being used to protect politicians and kicked Mubarak Kazan out for recording.”
Kazan, a fixture at city commission meetings, said he has been attending and documenting the meetings since 2003.
Kazan showed 7News multiple boxes of VHS tapes and cassette tapes going back decades. He said he seldom misses meetings so he can ask questions and hold city officials accountable.
But on Tuesday, Kazan said the city pressed stop on his rights.
“[I was told], ‘You are not allowed to get back into the meeting,'” said Kazan.
He said he had placed a digital recorder near the dais to pick up audio from the meeting while he used the restroom.
North Miami Beach City Manager Arthur Sorey told 7News the recorder had raised suspicions and was an unknown device.
The recorder was picked up by officials who confiscated it before Kazan was confronted outside of the meeting.
“Civil rights were violated here last night in the city of [North] Miami Beach,” said Mayor Anthony F. DeFillipo.
DeFillipo said he had briefly stepped out before officers were told to grab the recorder.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with recording a meeting,” said DeFillipo, “and I would’ve never let that happen.”
“‘City officials said, ‘We all know you.’ [I said], I want my recorder right now.'” said Kazan. “It’s like harassment, three police officers confronting a senior.”
North Miami Beach Interim Police Chief Harvette Smith addressed the incident during a phone interview with 7News.
“In light of everything that is going on today, it appears to be a security issue,” she said.
Smith said police officers picked up the recorder since Kazan had left the room and the unknown device was left near the stage.
When asked why the meeting was not cleared of everyone while officers investigated whether the recorder posed a threat, Smith replied, “We just didn’t do it at that time.”
But Kazan described the encounter as intimidation.
“You have a right to do your recordings. You shouldn’t expect me to pick up my recordings from going to the bathroom,” he said.
Kazan said he will not stop from attending meetings nor recording them anytime soon.
7News reached out to Sorey, who said he is currently out of the country and refused to do an interview over the phone or via FaceTime. 7News seeks the opportunity to speak with him because he said he was the one who asked for the tape recorder to be picked up.
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