Journalist says OPP officer detained him, seized camera at s

Police brutality is the wanton use of excessive force, usually physical, but potentially in the form of verbal attacks and psychological intimidation, by a police officer. Widespread police brutality exists in many countries, even those that prosecute it. It is one of several forms of police misconduct, which include: false arrest, intimidation, racial profiling, political repression, surveillance abuse, sexual abuse and police corruption.

Journalist says OPP officer detained him, seized camera at s

Postby Thomas » Thu Dec 21, 2023 5:35 am

Journalist says OPP officer detained him, seized camera at scene of crash

GuelphToday reporter Richard Vivian says OPP officer also 'grabbed' him

GUELPH – The Canadian Association of Journalists is calling the OPP’s treatment of a local reporter a “physical assault” and the seizing of his equipment a “blatant violation of press freedom.”

Richard Vivian, a longtime reporter and currently assistant editor at GuelphToday, says an OPP officer grabbed him, seized his camera and detained him while he was taking photos at the scene of a fatal crash on Wednesday morning.

In an article on the GuelphToday website, Vivian says he arrived on the scene, at the intersection of College Avenue and the Hanlon Expressway, and took about 10 photos before an OPP officer “yelled at him to stop.”

Vivian says he wasn’t interfering with the police investigation, and there were other pedestrians using the sidewalk where he was standing at the time.

“He came over and grabbed me by the jacket, my left wrist, so he had control of my left arm,” Vivian states in the article.

“He told me that he (was) seizing my camera.”

The article reports that even after Vivian handed over his camera, the officer did not immediately let go of his arm.

“He informed me that had I not handed him my camera, I would have been arrested, and that officially it was seized by the coroner under the coroner’s authority to seize during an investigation,” Vivian told a GuelphToday reporter.

Vivian, who declined a request for an interview with the Advertiser, says in the article he was told by the officer to stand at the rear of an OPP cruiser.

He handed over identification to the officer and after about 15 minutes, was told he could leave.

However, the OPP officer told Vivian that police, along with a representative from the coroner’s office, had decided to return his camera but keep the SD card because it is “evidence in their investigation,” the GuelphToday article states.

In an email to the Advertiser, Chief Coroner spokesperson Stephanie Rea declined to provide comment, citing privacy concerns related to the death investigation, but noted coroners “have the authority to seize anything” reasonably believed to be relevant to a death investigation.

It remains unclear how news reporting is connected to the coroner’s investigation.

“We understand and respect the concerns that have been brought to our attention, and will conduct a review to ensure proper processes were followed,” Rea stated.

Vivian says he was offered no details about when, or even if, he would get his card back and was accused by the OPP officer of “obstructing” the police investigation.

Other people were nearby capturing images on their cell phones, but police did not accost or detain them or take their devices, Vivian noted.

“I was not obstructing what they were doing in any way,” Vivian stated in the article.

“In fact, I started taking photos because they all appeared to be busy. My general plan for things like this is that I would approach the police afterward, and to see what they can tell me.”

It is a longstanding and widely accepted journalistic practice for reporters to capture images at the scene of a crime or collision.

Canadian Association of Journalists president Brent Jolly said the officer’s conduct is an “egregious abuse of power” and a “blatant violation of press freedom.”

Journalists at emergency and crime scenes, Jolly said, serve a critical role by gathering news and information and reporting to the public about what’s happening.

The spaces in which journalists are able to work without interference from authorities is tightening, Jolly said, calling the situation “ridiculous” and “dysfunctional.”

Journalists are not a hindrance or an inconvenience, he emphasized.

Vivian says in the article he has never been detained or had his equipment seized in more than two decades on the job.

The Advertiser, in its entire 55-year history, has never had any of its many reporters treated in such a way by police.

Representatives from Wellington/West Region OPP did not return requests for comment on this incident by end of day on Wednesday.

https://www.wellingtonadvertiser.com/op ... es-camera/
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Guelph reporter questions 'overreach of authority' after OPP

Postby Thomas » Fri Dec 22, 2023 9:03 am

Guelph reporter questions 'overreach of authority' after OPP officer detained him, seized camera

Reporter says he was detained by OPP and had memory card confiscated

A Guelph, Ont., journalist says he was detained and had his camera seized by an OPP officer while covering a fatal traffic collision Wednesday morning.

Richard Vivian, a senior reporter for the website GuelphToday, arrived at the scene of the collision on the Hanlon Expressway in Guelph at around 9 a.m. A 65-year-old woman from Guelph had been hit and was pronounced dead at scene.

He said the road was blocked off by police signs and pylons but the sidewalk remained unobstructed.

"With the apparent free flow of pedestrian traffic, I walked up and raised my camera and shot a couple of frames," Vivian told CBC. "Within a couple of seconds of me getting there, a police officer yelled at me to stop taking photos."

Vivian said the officer walked over and grabbed him by the sleeve of his jacket, controlling his arm.

"I told him to let me go. He said no. He told me he was seizing the camera," Vivian said. "Before I gave him the camera, he informed me I was detained."

Vivian added, "I did pause for a couple of seconds because I was quite taken aback by the situation, but I did relent."

Vivian said the officer gave him no specific reason for being detained and he was released 15 minutes later. He said the officer returned the camera to him, but kept the SD card where the photos he had taken would be stored.

"[The officer] told me it was being taken under the Coroners Act as evidence in their investigation," Vivian said.

Vivian said he has concerns for what he calls "the overreach of authority" displayed by the officer Wednesday morning.

"I definitely don't see the value in … obstructing news media," he said.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the advoacy group Canadian Association of Journalists said "the officer's conduct is an egregious abuse of power and a blatant violation of press freedom."

The OPP put out a statement on X Wednesday evening. The statement says the OPP is reviewing the circumstances of the interaction between a member of the media and the OPP investigator.

In an emailed statement, Ontario's Chief Coroner's office said that while they cannot comment on specific investigations, they "understand and respect the concerns that have been brought to our attention and will conduct an review to ensure proper processes were followed."

The spokesperson also said coroners "have the authority to seize anything the coroner has reasonable grounds to believe is material to the purposes of the investigation."

Vivian says he has not been informed as to when the SD card will be returned.

https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.7066526

https://www.cbc.ca/lite/story/1.7066526
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GuelphToday journalist's treatment by OPP an ‘egregious abus

Postby Thomas » Fri Dec 22, 2023 9:05 am

GuelphToday journalist's treatment by OPP an ‘egregious abuse of power

Village Media is lodging a formal complaint after one of its journalists was detained on the job in Guelph

UPDATE (5 p.m. Thursday): A Wellington County OPP officer returned the confiscated SD card to reporter Richard Vivian on Thursday at 5 p.m. The handful of photos taken before the card was confiscated remain on the card intact. Vivian was told any questions would have to be directed to the coroner's office.

The Canadian Association of Journalists is calling the detainment of a GuelphToday journalist and seizure of his equipment an ‘egregious abuse of power’ and a ‘blatant violation of press freedom.’

Brent Jolly, the national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), said he was “absolutely flabbergasted” when he learned a senior GuelphToday reporter Richard Vivian had been detained and his memory card seized by the OPP and the coroner’s office at the scene of a fatal collision Wednesday morning.

Village Media plans on filing formal complaints with the coroner's office and the OPP.

Vivian arrived at the scene of a fatal collision at the intersection of College Avenue and the Hanlon Expressway around 9 a.m. Wednesday. He was there just seconds and took just a few photos before an OPP officer turned and shouted at him, grabbing his arm and seizing his camera.

“I think it was an absolute egregious abuse of the individual’s power and a blatant violation of press freedom,” Jolly said. “I just don’t understand how this got into a case of potential physical assault of somebody. It’s not just can you please step back. He put his hands on Richard and physically assaulted him.”

The OPP later released a statement that officials are aware of the incident and are “reviewing the circumstances of the interaction between the member of the media and one of the OPP investigators.”

In an interview, OPP Staff Sgt. Karen Medeiros couldn’t comment on the incident, but said that when a coroner is investigating a death, police are to act under the direction of the coroner.

Likewise, Stephanie Rea, issues manager with the Office of the Chief Coroner said she couldn’t comment on the incident “due to privacy provisions” when asked what their policy is regarding the detainment of journalists and seizure of equipment.

She did say that coroners “have the authority to seize anything the coroner has reasonable grounds to believe is material to the purposes of the investigation as per Section 16 2(c) of the Coroners Act,” and that they will be conducting a review “to ensure proper processes were followed.”

However, Vivian noted that though the OPP have deferred responsibility to the coroner’s office, the OPP officer involved in the incident appeared to detain him and seize his camera before interacting with the coroner on scene.

As the act does not define what is considered to be “material to the purposes of the investigation,” and Rea did not offer further clarification, it remains unclear as to how Vivian's photos constitute as evidence to their investigation.

Jolly said the vague language in the act was not only concerning, but that he has never heard of a coroner directing the detainment of a journalist or seizing their equipment.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a coroner demanding law enforcement collect evidence from journalists,” he said. “It seems pretty far-fetched.”

He said the coroner’s office should be challenged to say what evidence in particular they would have gained by taking Vivian's photos of the scene.

He also said there should be some clarity around the vague language in the act.

If there isn’t, he fears these types of incidents will become more common practice.

“And that's certainly something I don't want to see happen,” he said.

Village Media editor in chief Michael Friscolanti said what happened was “completely unacceptable,” and that “the Ontario Provincial Police should immediately apologize for the officer’s behaviour and the coroner's office should return the SD card that was seized.”

“Richard was performing his job as a journalist: reporting from the scene of a fatal accident that occurred in his community. He was not standing inside a taped-off police scene; he was on a busy sidewalk where other people were walking,” he said.

Friscolanti said the OPP officer “had no right or reason to grab Richard, detain him, or demand that he hand over his camera equipment. The officer’s behaviour was a gross violation of press freedom and a flagrant abuse of power.”

Village Media will be lodging formal complaints with both the OPP and the Office of Ontario’s Chief Coroner, Friscolanti said.

At the time of writing, the memory card has not been returned to Vivian, though the act states any items seized must be promptly returned when the investigation at hand is over. It's not yet clear when that will be.

https://www.baytoday.ca/local-news/guel ... er-8018910

https://www.orilliamatters.com/local-ne ... er-8017205
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Guelph, Ont. reporter speaks out after he was detained and c

Postby Thomas » Fri Dec 22, 2023 9:09 am

Guelph, Ont. reporter speaks out after he was detained and camera seized by OPP

A Guelph, Ont. journalist is seeking answers from OPP and the Coroner’s Office after he was detained at the scene of a fatal crash Wednesday morning and his camera was confiscated.

Richard Vivian, a senior reporter for the community news organization GuelphToday, was sent to cover a collision involving a pedestrian on the Hanlon Expressway.

He told CTV News that the road was closed, but the sidewalk was open when he arrived, and he began walking closer to take photos.

“I’m still a good 40 metres from the scene,” he recalled. “I just raised my camera and [in] literally a couple of seconds the officer’s in my face.”

While it’s not unusual for police to ask the public and media to move back from the scene of a collision or crime, Vivian said what happened next was a first for him as a reporter.

“He grabbed my jacket cuff on my left wrist to restrain me. I told him to let me go and he said ‘no.’ He demanded I give him the camera and told me I was being detained.”

Vivian claims he was detained for about 15 minutes.

“What I was told by the officer was that the coroner’s boss had come to the scene and had decided they didn’t want to interrupt my ability to do my job, so I got the camera back, but they were keeping the [SD] card,” he explained.

Vivian said his SD card wasn’t returned until Thursday afternoon.

OPP AND CORONER'S RESPONSE

The OPP put out a statement Wednesday night in response to the incident.

It reads, in part: “The OPP is reviewing the circumstances of the interaction between the member of the media and one of the OPP investigators. Our role, under the direction of the coroner, is to conduct a complete and thorough death investigation, while ensuring its integrity.”

They went on to say: “The OPP respects the freedom of the press and values its relationships with the media, while also taking a victim-centered approach during our investigations.”

In an email to CTV News, the Coroner's Office added: "If a coroner recognizes that the photographs would assist for the purposes of a death investigation, the Coroner's Act provides authority to seize the SD card, however, there would not be a need to keep a camera. We are reviewing the specific circumstances to ensure proper processes were followed."

LEGAL EXPERT REACTS

Legal expert Ari Goldkind said it appears the OPP were in the wrong.

“I think the OPP knows they’ve got a problem on their hands,” he said. “If I was the reporter I would [be] contacting counsel.”

The Coroner’s Office does have expanded powers during a death investigation but Goldkind said it appears, in this case, to be a clear overreach.

“This wasn’t somebody obstructing, this wasn’t someone with secret information. The police officers on their own cellphones could have taken the very same pictures the reporter was.”

POSSIBLE LEGAL ACTION

Vivian believes the situation could have been better handled with a simple discussion.

“My general approach would be to comply with some negotiation. ‘What do you mean back up, how far?’ That sort of thing.”

He said it’s not up to police to determine what journalists are allowed to gather.

“It would hurt us as a company, and my reputation personally, if we were to run something that showed a [dead] body,” Vivian explained. “We even crop licence plates out in fatality accident photos.”

He decided to share his story in the hopes that it prevents similar situations.

According to GuelphToday, their parent company Village Media plans to file a formal complaint with the Coroner’s Office and Ontario Provincial Police.

The Canadian Association of Journalists has also reacted to the incident.

They called it an “egregious abuse of power” and a “blatant violation of press freedom.”

Statement regarding incident at fatal collision near Guelph. pic.twitter.com/whqmwyYCbB

— Ontario Provincial Police (@OPP_News) December 20, 2023

https://www.iheartradio.ca/ctv-news-con ... 1.21023038
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GuelphToday journalist's treatment by OPP an ‘egregious abus

Postby Thomas » Wed Jan 17, 2024 2:33 pm

GuelphToday journalist's treatment by OPP an ‘egregious abuse of power’

Village Media is lodging a formal complaint after one of its journalists was detained on the job in Guelph

UPDATE (5 p.m. Thursday): A Wellington County OPP officer returned the confiscated SD card to reporter Richard Vivian on Thursday at 5 p.m. The handful of photos taken before the card was confiscated remain on the card intact. Vivian was told any questions would have to be directed to the coroner's office.

The Canadian Association of Journalists is calling the detainment of a GuelphToday journalist and seizure of his equipment an ‘egregious abuse of power’ and a ‘blatant violation of press freedom.’

Brent Jolly, the national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), said he was “absolutely flabbergasted” when he learned a senior GuelphToday reporter Richard Vivian had been detained and his memory card seized by the OPP and the coroner’s office at the scene of a fatal collision Wednesday morning.

Village Media plans on filing formal complaints with the coroner's office and the OPP.

Vivian arrived at the scene of a fatal collision at the intersection of College Avenue and the Hanlon Expressway around 9 a.m. Wednesday. He was there just seconds and took just a few photos before an OPP officer turned and shouted at him, grabbing his arm and seizing his camera.

“I think it was an absolute egregious abuse of the individual’s power and a blatant violation of press freedom,” Jolly said. “I just don’t understand how this got into a case of potential physical assault of somebody. It’s not just can you please step back. He put his hands on Richard and physically assaulted him.”

The OPP later released a statement that officials are aware of the incident and are “reviewing the circumstances of the interaction between the member of the media and one of the OPP investigators.”

In an interview, OPP Staff Sgt. Karen Medeiros couldn’t comment on the incident, but said that when a coroner is investigating a death, police are to act under the direction of the coroner.

Likewise, Stephanie Rea, issues manager with the Office of the Chief Coroner said she couldn’t comment on the incident “due to privacy provisions” when asked what their policy is regarding the detainment of journalists and seizure of equipment.

She did say that coroners “have the authority to seize anything the coroner has reasonable grounds to believe is material to the purposes of the investigation as per Section 16 2(c) of the Coroners Act,” and that they will be conducting a review “to ensure proper processes were followed.”

However, Vivian noted that though the OPP have deferred responsibility to the coroner’s office, the OPP officer involved in the incident appeared to detain him and seize his camera before interacting with the coroner on scene.

As the act does not define what is considered to be “material to the purposes of the investigation,” and Rea did not offer further clarification, it remains unclear as to how Vivian's photos constitute as evidence to their investigation.

Jolly said the vague language in the act was not only concerning, but that he has never heard of a coroner directing the detainment of a journalist or seizing their equipment.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a coroner demanding law enforcement collect evidence from journalists,” he said. “It seems pretty far-fetched.”

He said the coroner’s office should be challenged to say what evidence in particular they would have gained by taking Vivian's photos of the scene.

He also said there should be some clarity around the vague language in the act.

If there isn’t, he fears these types of incidents will become more common practice.

“And that's certainly something I don't want to see happen,” he said.

Village Media editor in chief Michael Friscolanti said what happened was “completely unacceptable,” and that “the Ontario Provincial Police should immediately apologize for the officer’s behaviour and the coroner's office should return the SD card that was seized.”

“Richard was performing his job as a journalist: reporting from the scene of a fatal accident that occurred in his community. He was not standing inside a taped-off police scene; he was on a busy sidewalk where other people were walking,” he said.

Friscolanti said the OPP officer “had no right or reason to grab Richard, detain him, or demand that he hand over his camera equipment. The officer’s behaviour was a gross violation of press freedom and a flagrant abuse of power.”

Village Media will be lodging formal complaints with both the OPP and the Office of Ontario’s Chief Coroner, Friscolanti said.

At the time of writing, the memory card has not been returned to Vivian, though the act states any items seized must be promptly returned when the investigation at hand is over. It's not yet clear when that will be.

https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-news/ ... er-8020794
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Village Media journalist's treatment by OPP an ‘egregious ab

Postby Thomas » Wed Jan 17, 2024 2:38 pm

Village Media journalist's treatment by OPP an ‘egregious abuse of power’c

Village Media lodging formal complaint after one of its reporters was detained while on the job at a scene in Guelph

UPDATE: A Wellington County OPP officer returned the confiscated SD card to reporter Richard Vivian on Dec. 21 at 5 p.m. The handful of photos taken before the card was confiscated remain on the card intact. Vivian was told any questions would have to be directed to the coroner's office.

The Canadian Association of Journalists is calling the detainment of a GuelphToday journalist and seizure of his equipment an "egregious abuse of power" and a "blatant violation of press freedom."

Brent Jolly, the national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), said he was “absolutely flabbergasted” when he learned a senior GuelphToday reporter Richard Vivian had been detained and his memory card seized by the OPP and the coroner’s office at the scene of a fatal collision.

Village Media says it plans on filing formal complaints with the coroner's office and the OPP.

Vivian arrived at the scene of a fatal collision at the intersection of College Avenue and the Hanlon Expressway around 9 a.m. last Wednesday. He was there just seconds and took just a few photos before an OPP officer turned and shouted at him, grabbing his arm and seizing his camera.

“I think it was an absolute egregious abuse of the individual’s power and a blatant violation of press freedom,” Jolly said. “I just don’t understand how this got into a case of potential physical assault of somebody. It’s not just can you please step back. He put his hands on Richard and physically assaulted him.”

The OPP later released a statement that officials are aware of the incident and are “reviewing the circumstances of the interaction between the member of the media and one of the OPP investigators.”

In an interview, OPP Staff Sgt. Karen Medeiros couldn’t comment on the incident, but said that when a coroner is investigating a death, police are to act under the direction of the coroner.

Likewise, Stephanie Rea, issues manager with the Office of the Chief Coroner said she couldn’t comment on the incident “due to privacy provisions” when asked what their policy is regarding the detainment of journalists and seizure of equipment.

She did say that coroners “have the authority to seize anything the coroner has reasonable grounds to believe is material to the purposes of the investigation as per Section 16 2(c) of the Coroners Act,” and that they will be conducting a review “to ensure proper processes were followed.”

However, Vivian noted that though the OPP have deferred responsibility to the coroner’s office, the OPP officer involved in the incident appeared to detain him and seize his camera before interacting with the coroner on scene.

As the act does not define what is considered to be “material to the purposes of the investigation,” and Rea did not offer further clarification, it remains unclear as to how Vivian's photos constitute as evidence to their investigation.

Jolly said the vague language in the act was not only concerning, but that he has never heard of a coroner directing the detainment of a journalist or seizing their equipment.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a coroner demanding law enforcement collect evidence from journalists,” he said. “It seems pretty far-fetched.”

He said the coroner’s office should be challenged to say what evidence in particular they would have gained by taking Vivian's photos of the scene.

He also said there should be some clarity around the vague language in the act.

If there isn’t, he fears these types of incidents will become more common practice.

“And that's certainly something I don't want to see happen,” he said.

Village Media editor in chief Michael Friscolanti said what happened was “completely unacceptable,” and that “the Ontario Provincial Police should immediately apologize for the officer’s behaviour and the coroner's office should return the SD card that was seized.”

“Richard was performing his job as a journalist: reporting from the scene of a fatal accident that occurred in his community. He was not standing inside a taped-off police scene; he was on a busy sidewalk where other people were walking,” he said.

Friscolanti said the OPP officer “had no right or reason to grab Richard, detain him, or demand that he hand over his camera equipment. The officer’s behaviour was a gross violation of press freedom and a flagrant abuse of power.”

Village Media will be lodging formal complaints with both the OPP and the Office of Ontario’s Chief Coroner, Friscolanti said.

At the time of writing, the memory card has not been returned to Vivian, though the act states any items seized must be promptly returned when the investigation at hand is over. It's not yet clear when that will be.

https://www.barrietoday.com/local-news/ ... er-8017569
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GuelphToday files complaints against OPP, Coroner’s Office

Postby Thomas » Wed Jan 17, 2024 3:11 pm

GuelphToday files complaints against OPP, Coroner’s Office

A local news organization says it’s filed formal complaints with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Chief Coroner of Ontario after its reporter was detained by police at the scene of a crash and had his camera confiscated last month.

Richard Vivian, a senior reporter at GuelphToday, was covering a fatal collision involving a pedestrian on the Hanlon Expressway on Dec. 20 when he was detained by an OPP officer.

“I’m still a good 40 metres from the scene. I just raised my camera and [in] literally a couple of seconds, the officer’s in my face” Vivian told CTV News the day after the incident. “He grabbed my jacket cuff on my left wrist to restrain me. I told him to let me go and he said ‘no.’ He demanded I give him the camera and told me I was being detained.”

Vivian claims he was detained for about 15 minutes.

“What I was told by the officer was that the Coroner’s boss had come to the scene and had decided they didn’t want to interrupt my ability to do my job, so I got the camera back, but they were keeping the [SD] card,” he explained.

Vivian said he didn’t get the SD card back until the next day.

OPP released a statement on Dec. 20 saying they would be reviewing the circumstances of the interaction.

In an email to CTV News, the Coroner’s Office stated: "If a coroner recognizes that the photographs would assist for the purposes of a death investigation, the Coroner's Act provides authority to seize the SD card, however, there would not be a need to keep a camera.”

They were also planning to review the incident.

GuelphToday confirmed with CTV News that complaints were filed last week with Ontario Provincial Police and the Coroner’s Office.

In an article posted Wednesday on its website, GuelphToday said the OPP has not contacted the reporter or the news organization.

https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/guelph-rep ... -1.6720310
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