Canadian Journalist Handcuffed and Cited for Photographing Injured Cop

Photo by Alex Consiglio of the Toronto Star


A Canadian newspaper reporter was placed in a headlock, handcuffed and detained for photographing an injured police officer inside a Toronto train station.

Alex Consiglio of the Toronto Star was eventually cited for trespassing, even though he had purchased a ticket for the train.

He had photographed an officer who had broken his ankle, one of two officers thrown on the tracks in a skirmish with a man who had tried to open the train doors as it was moving.

Officials claimed that journalists are not allowed to take photographs inside the city-owned train station without first signing a waiver – even though non-journalists are free to take all the photos they want.

According to the Toronto Star:

News photographers are not allowed to take photos without permission at Union Station, said Anne Marie Aikins, media relations manager with Metrolinx, which raises questions about the viability of stopping media, and onlookers, from recording news as it happens in an age of smart phones and social media.

“People take photos on the subway all the time. I’ve taken photos on the subway. So there could be an expectation that you’re not doing anything wrong,” said University of British Columbia journalism professor Alfred Hermida.

“Handcuffing a reporter and ticketing them does seem to be applying the law a little bit too literally, without acknowledging that you have a job to do as police, and a journalist has a job to do as a journalist.”

After witnessing several Toronto police officers rush toward the GO Transit track level, Alex Consiglio followed and took a photograph of an injured transit officer crouched beside the track. “I took the picture and they came over to me saying I couldn’t take pictures. They told me to leave, so I left. I was trying to figure out what was going on,” Consiglio said.

Aikins said working journalists need to sign a waiver before taking photos in Union Station — even though the public takes photos in Union Station all the time on their smart phones.

The difference, Aikens said, is that journalists are taking pictures in the “official capacity,” which she said creates a “liability issue.”

While it’s true that the laws regarding public photography are slightly different in Canada, it is obvious Aikens is trying to spin this story in favor of her employer.

The real issue is that they were embarrassed that two of their officers were manhandled by a passenger.

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • Kenneth Bankers

    Oh thats fucking bullshit. Someone with a smart phone can take the same picture Send it to the NEWS GATHERING AGENCY and wham same fucking photo.

  • rick

    Thank goodness for the ol’ fallback trespassing!

    Canada also has freedom of the press (section 2 of their Charter). I hope Mr. Consiglio fights the citation and takes them to court.

  • Ryan French

    What “liability” is presented when a journalist takes a photo versus a citizen? I had hope for Canada…

  • IceTrey

    I think that guy is flipping the bird. Cops, always classy.

  • steveo

    The journalist probably was just not aware of all the Canadian rules.

  • -0z-

    The first thing in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is “Equal treatment under the law.” There is no possible way this could stand up in court.

  • Proud GrandPa

    I don’t know what is a law and what is just a Union Station policy. We all know even a gov’t entity cannot create a policy in violation of the constitution in both Canada and the USA. So what exactly is the ban on professional photogs?


    How ironic that in the USA some policies allowed photos only by professionals, whereas up north the policies allow photos only by us amateurs. Both are better than Cuba where they kill you or jail you for photography. So much for the socialist paradise up north or down south. At least the USA set things right. Cuba and Canada, you should take lessons from the USA.


  • Peter A

    You people have to look at history and cops, most of us believe that it was Hitler’s men that put the Jews in the death camps, Not True!

    It was local cops that rounded up thousands of men women and children, then separated them and put them on trains. 80,000 alone from France, over another 20,000 from Poland, and so on.

    It was a french journalist that figured out what was going on, these people weren’t coming back.

    Cops are screened upon hiring, I know people that didn’t get in , just because they showed that they were human. The people that get in are sick individuals, get it. They will round YOU up and send you to your death, Gladly, it turns them on, like any serial killer.

  • Peter A

    Something big is going on in America, that’s why a small city like Windsor has 500 cops.
    Its not against the law to collect evidence, my company gives me a camera and will fire me if I don’t take pictures at an accident scene. so go to hell copper!