Americans tend to think of Canadian cops as the kinder, gentler version of the short-tempered, trigger-happy, civil rights violating officers that make up much of the police departments in the United States.
But every once in a while, we are reminded that they can be just as bad.
Just over a week ago, we saw a video of a Canadian cop running over a dog several times before stepping out and shooting it to death in his attempt to keep the neighborhood safe from coyotes.
But that dog was somebody’s pet, a deaf, blind German Shepard/Australian cattle dog that had slipped through an open gate from its owner’s yard.
Now we are seeing a pair of Toronto cops doing their best to intimidate a man from recording a pair of youths for marijuana.
Marijuana? Many of us were under the impression that Canadian cops didn’t really care about marijuana.
But they not only do care about marijuana, they also care when a citizen tries to record them making an arrest.
The cops, Shawn Gill and Brian Smith, were from the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy unit, which they call TAVIS, an irony considering there was no hint of violence from anybody until they pulled up on the scene and began crowding the videographer, getting into his personal space, sticking their hands in front of his lens, saying they had every right to do all that.
We’ve seen American cops do that on so many occasions and the reason is obvious. They are hoping for the man with the camera to push them off – which would be a natural reaction for most people – where they would then have the right to beat and kill the videographer.
“You can record, you’re in public, right,” Smith said, his face inches from the camera, whose name is Mike Miller.
“No reasonable expectation of privacy …. so I’m just letting you know I could be standing here, too.”
However, had Miller done the same to him, citing his right to crowd the officer’s space, getting close enough where he could kiss him, he surely would have been beaten or killed.
But obviously, cops in Canada are above the law as they are in the United States.
The incident took place on September 14, but the video is now going viral after the Toronto Star reported on it Tuesday.
A police spokesperson told the newspaper that the cops were doing that to protect the identity of the people they were arresting who were minors. One was 15, the other 16.
However, the cops never mentioned this was the reason for the intimidation, so the Police PR Spin Machine is just as strong in Canada as it is in the United States.
And as the cop said, nobody has any expectation of privacy in public. And the laws in Canada regarding photography appear to be very similar to the laws in the United States, according to this overview.
So there is likely no law forbidding the recording of minors in public in Canada. Although like the United States, it is probably unlawful to use an image of a minor or anybody for that matter for commercial purposes, meaning advertising.
However, Canadian laws appears to give the same rights as the United States when it comes to editorial usage, which is journalism and cop watching, meaning citizens not only have the right to photograph or record what they see in public, they have the right to publish that content.
If I am wrong, I will gladly correct this, but please provide a link to the law that says it is illegal to photograph or video record minors.
If there is, indeed, a law, it would be a troubling because that would make it illegal to video record cops beating minors.
And as for the law on marijuana, medical marijuana has been legal since 2001 but now there are talks to legalize recreational marijuana, which probably still won’t apply to minors.