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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Illegal searches and intimidation at the G20

In this first video, videographer Melissa Hill, videotapes Toronto police randomly stopping and searching people in a relatively quiet intersection of downtown Toronto. Half-way into the video, a male police officer comes and starts shining his flashlight into her camera. He acknowledges her right to film, and asserts his right to shine a flashlight into her camera in kind.

Later on, another female police officer demands she stops filming immediately, blocks the lens and physically turns off the camera.

In this second video, Press For Truth, is asked to stop filming. In fact, the officer says it's her "right" not to be filmed. On the contrary, the Toronto Police actually clarified in a public statement -- amid a controversy of some police demanding that people delete footage of their cameras -- that it was perfectly legal to film police doing their duties on the street. Apparently, some of their officers didn't get the memo.

To be fair, most police did seem to be aware -- and many acknowledged -- that they had no right not to be filmed. But some police seemed to be making up their own rules.

It's interesting that some police officers believe they have a right not to be filmed doing their jobs, while many of the police officers during the G20 themselves were armed with camcorders on sticks, that they used for continuously video taping pedestrians.

In fact, the police do videotape him in this video.

In any case, these two videos demonstrate the law being inconsistently applied. And the draconian measures even being applied days before the summit, and nearly 4km away from the summit in an area where there's absolutely no protest activity except for a lone guy with a video camera.

Posted by Mike Brock on July 18, 2010 in G20 | Permalink


Once things like this occur in Alberta, I'll give a damn. Otherwise, this looks like another episode of "Ontarians Gone Wild", derived from the unique social, political, ethnic, racial and cultural conditions of that place.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-07-18 5:27:37 PM

Mike, Draconian is when every offence, however minor, results in the death penalty. You describe police checking ID and some of them saying they don’t wish to be filmed. Forgive me if I’m less than horrified.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-18 8:52:13 PM

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