Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Four Cops with Guns Drawn at Main & Hastings

Just after 3:30 p.m. today, Vancouver Police apprehended a guy in front of Carnegie Center who apparently was "flashing knives around". A man told me, "I heard yelling, 'Get on the ground! Get on the ground! Then I saw four cops with guns out."

A male police officer reportedly asked underclass men standing around in front of Carnegie if they had witnessed anything. They said they hadn't. But they had of course seen something because they were chatting with one another about the incident. One guy later said, chuckling and shaking his head, that one of the knives the guy had been flashing was large.

There was blood on the sidewalk. In addition to the blood in this photo, there was a smaller area of blood nearby on the sidewalk. The blur on the right of this photos is someone's pant leg as they walked by. I asked a witness if the guy on the steps had been stabbed and he said, "No."

Police sat the suspect on the steps of Carnegie Centre in handcuffs. Paramedics arrived and put a white bandage around his head. He was apparently bleeding.




A person with a camera offered to take some photos and send them to me. Comments late made by the photographer via email left me with the impression that it's time Chief Chu had a talk with his constables about respecting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. When the photographer went to take a photo, a female police officer with dark hair apparently made a point of stepping in front of the camera to block the shot. Photographers have as much right to work on a public sidewalk as police do. There is no expectation of privacy on a sidewalk and taxpayers have a right to see photos of police at work.

7 comments:

Hair Farmer Joe said...

Sorry, but I do not agree with you at all - police and all public safety personnel have much more of a right (and responsibility) to work in public than any type of photog.

You'd be complaining even more if they had let the guy go and he used his "large knife" to hurt someone ...

Dag said...

Joe has an obvious right point here that the police have a prior right to the sidewalk, and that is to ensure all of us the right to the sidewalk. However, it doesn't interfere with the police to have photos taken, that being something of a pubic service in the same way the police arresting a lunatic with knives is. Yes, the latter has priority, but the former isn't negligable at all: we have a right to conduct our lives, even taking pictures of the police, along with the police arresting lunatics.

The public person has rights, and also, most often ignored, responsibilities. When people ignore their responsibilities, then the police have a duty to ignore their prior rights. The police have rights, and they have responsibilities as well to leave the public alone unless the pubic person is in some way impeding police work, which taking photographs isn't likely to do. However, the police don't have to like some anonymous guy standing around taking photographs of them while they work, no more than would the average prostitute or panhandler or preacher. Anyone engaged in business having his/her picture taken on a sidewalk is likely to be offended, and for good reason. It's offensive. Argue for your rights as you will, it doesn't mean another will like you for it or wish you well next time.

Privacy is a changing concept now, what with digital cameras gong for cheap and easy. We can no longer expect to have the sole ownership of our own image. That's "progress." But don't expect people to like it when you take their photograph on the street.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Anonymous said...

I was at Carnegie and on the Board across from reception, there was a notice about a special meeting of the Board. I read it quickly not thinking too much about it except in the middle of the night I realized what the Board is trying to do is create incamera meetings which are not necessary. Incamera meetings lead to abuse. You may want to look into this as I am burnt out and cannot take another cause on however I will support whatever like voting ...

reliable sources said...

Hair Farmer Joe,

Thanks for your input. But I agree with dag on this one. As long as photographers aren't interfering with police work, police are obligated to put up with them.

I was thinking later that possibly the reason one police officer didn't seem to want photos taken was that the police were on the defensive. I was told by a witness that the suspect hadn't been stabbed. So why was he bleeding from the head? The bleeding could have been caused when the police took him down onto the pavement. I wouldn't blame police if they had slammed him onto the pavement fast, as he was reported to be carrying knives.
If there are no photographs, it is easier for police to avoid criticism.

reliable sources said...

anonymous,

I saw the notice too about the Special meeting at Carnegie. I think it's open to the public, not in-camera, but at the time I saw it, I thought, "They're holding a Special meeting that they know few people are likely to attend. What is it they're planning to hold a vote to change at that meeting?" The poster was skimpy on information about what they're up to. And I only saw one poster announcing the meeting.

Dag said...

I found a piece just now at canoe news that sums up the problem for the Carnegie junta:

More interaction expected as citizen journalism evolves, expert predicts
By Luann Lasalle, THE CANADIAN PRESS.

MONTREAL - The news is changing, as more ordinary people become citizen journalists.

Armed with cellphone cameras and Internet connections, they are taking pictures, shooting video and messaging eyewitness accounts of terrorist attacks, political rallies and natural disasters. They're making the unfiltered information available almost instantly, faster than traditional news organizations.

[....]

The website also cited the role of SMS texting, blogging and the online photo management site Flickr in other news moments on the list.

[....]

[Leonard Brody, CEO and co-founder of Vancouver-based NowPublic,] believes that the way news is reported will continue to change in 2009.

"You will start to see news as something you will interact with, that it's almost a social thing in some respects," Brody said.

[....]

Technology expert Andy Walker said the cellphone, with its camera and video capabilities, has helped lead the way in user-generated news.

"It has basically made everybody a photojournalist whether they like it or not," said Walker, executive producer of Butterscoch.com.

[....]

****

So the world turns, and on it, along with everyone else, turns the Carnegie junta, bewildered and angry as they might be. Their antics are now subject to immediate exposure, and because they're a corrupt lot who toss homeless folk like Simpson onto the snow snow-covered streets without a care, they now get exposed as the corrupt lot they are and have been. Too bad for them, as if anyone cares. Now they face the people. Immediately. And there's no turning it back, hated as bloggers might be by those who loved abusing their power. Tough. Now the people have a voice. Now people can show the truth.

Blog on.

reliable sources said...

dag,

I'll never forget how much difficulty the Carnegie establishment had adjusting when the poor actually got "a voice" of their own via blogging. "Tattle tale Queen of the Carnegie! Tattletale Queen of the Carnegie!", Bob Sarti yelled at Bill Simpson as he chased him into the stairwell on the third floor of Carnegie. Sarti was a Carnegie Board member. He also worked for 25 years as a reporter at the mainstream paper, the Vancouver Sun.