Tag Archives: photographing

Recording or videoing police in Canada

From the Ottawa Citizen:

“Every Ontarian should read the Police Services Act’s Code of Conduct, especially the part in Section 30 that says an officer engages in discreditable conduct when he or she “uses profane, abusive or insulting language or is otherwise uncivil to a member of the public.”

This reminder is necessary given what appears to be a predilection on the part of some police to order citizens to cease using cellphones or video cameras to record officers in the public performance of their duties.

The fact is, police have no sweeping authority under Canadian law to order people to stop taking pictures or videos of them in public or confiscate their devices without a court order. Certainly, police can arrest anyone who wilfully obstructs them while taking pictures, but even then they have no automatic right to seize the device, much less delete its contents. Continue reading

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You have the right to remain silent, and film the proceedings — Karen Selick

Canadian Constitution Foundation litigation director Karen Selick, writing in the National Post:

That’s “Ur-Papparazo”, Ron Galella, in the football helmet, stalking his celebrity prey. Marlon Brando (left) had previously punched him in the face during a prior encounter. Galella was the subject of the recent documentary “Smash his Camera”. Photo copyright Ron Galella.

What have cops got against cameras these days? Increasingly, people are getting arrested, charged or even assaulted by police officers, merely for attempting to take photos or videos of officers at work. Often, police simply command people to stop photographing. Scared into thinking they must be breaking some law, citizens comply.

When Polish visitor Robert Dziekanski died after being tasered at the Vancouver airport in 2007, police seized the now famous video made by witness Paul Pritchard, who had to hire a lawyer and threaten court proceedings to get it back. Continue reading

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