UPDATE April 8: The BC Civil Liberties Association thanked
the Chief of the Vancouver Police Department for moving to clarify
police policy around seizing cameras from the public and forapologizing in writing to a Province newspaper photographer.
The BC Civil Liberties Association filed a complaint with the Vancouver
Police Board, following the brief seizure of Province newspaper
photographer Jason Payne’s camera. The BCCLA cited three allegations
against the Vancouver Police Department of seizures of photographic
equipment, which it called “a troubling pattern that the Police Board
should move to address proactively.” The other cases are the detention
of a Channel M videographer in 2007, and a March 2009 citizen’s
allegation that police seized his cellphone and erased video of a fatal
police shooting in downtown Vancouver.
The BCCLA release is here; its complaint (to mayor and police board chair Gregor Robertson) is here. Payne posted a description of his run-in with the police — with a photo showing him being manhandled — on the Province web site.
This seems to be B.C.’s time for police/media run-ins. In response to a previous Townhall
post on the issue, an editor with the Ubyssey — University of B.C.
student newspaper — linked to photojournalist Jorge Amigo’s experience
of being prevented from taking photos by the RCMP as they shut down a
campus party. Commented Amigo, “… it is precisely these tiny
unreported abuses of power that, when accumulated, become the greatest
enemies of liberty.”
The current context for all this, of course, is the ongoing Braidwood Inquiry
into Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski’s 2007, death after four RCMP
officers repeatedly stunned him with a Taser and then physically piled
onto him. The inquiry has repeatedly played back a bystander’s video of
the death, which contradicts statements made by the four police