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Police attack journalists, public's right to know

by Jesse Freeston

See video

Since publishing this video, I learned that at least four more journalists have been arrested, in some cases beaten, and in one case tasered while on the ground warning officers that he had a pacemaker.Add this to the more than 600 people who have been spuriously arrested in the last couple days, and the hundreds more that have been detained for hours, sometimes in the pouring rain. My colleague Maya Rolbin-Ghanie lays out some of the numerous violations that have visited the people of this city. Warrantless house raids. Illegal searches and seizures.This video is about one such incident, and my experience as a journalist within it. It is culminated by two punches to my face and a stolen microphone at the hands of police officers. It is by no means unique but just one documentation of the kind of abuse of power and impunity that has defined life for so many this weekend.This video should not imply that journalists have more rights than anyone else, nobody is to be subjected to illegal searches, police brutality, unjustified detention, etc... But the targeting and intimidation of journalists goes beyond the journalist, and is an attack on the entire public's right to know what's going on.As the Toronto Chief of Police William Blair intimates in this piece. Journalists, and thus all of us, have no rights once someone breaks some windows. What does it mean if our so-called 'rights' can't stand up to broken glass? I'm left to conclude that we only have rights when authorities deem it's okay for us to.

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