During a press conference at Edmonton Police Service headquarters, city police officers told Duncan Kinney, editor of The Progress Report, that he would not be able to ask questions and would be asked to leave if he “create(d) a scene.”
“We’ve been told that nobody’s going to be taking your questions today, and that if you create a scene or anything, you’re going to be asked to leave and probably escorted out,” a police officer can be heard saying in a video taken by Kinney and shared on Twitter.
In a Progress Report article, Kinney wrote that when the press conference started, an officer stood next to him: “He got so close to me that he touched my elbow and side with the butt of his gun.”
Kinney wrote that he told the officer to “give me some room” and not to touch him with the gun, but the officer did not.
As police officials giving the press conference prepared to take questions, Kinney waited by a mic that had been set up for journalists. He wrote that at that point, officials said that the mic wasn’t working due to technical difficulties, and they would instead call on individual journalists; Kinney wrote that he was not given an opportunity to ask a question.
Kinney said he had been invited to the press conference by the office of Alberta public safety minister Mike Ellis, which organized the press conference.
Tom Engel, Kinney’s lawyer, said on Twitter that on Feb. 3 he received an email from EPS chief Dale McFee’s lawyer, who wrote that Kinney is barred from attending press conferences in EPS buildings, as he is not accredited with EPS as a journalist.
“We will be updating our processes here to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” McFee’s lawyer wrote.
On Feb. 14, Engel wrote to EPS and said Kinney wanted to pursue a criminal charge of assault against the officer who, Kinney alleges, stood near him and touched him with his gun, reported the Edmonton Journal. Kinney has also filed a police complaint against the officer.
The Progress Report is a self-described left-wing online media project produced by Progress Alberta, a non-profit organization “advocating and organizing for leftist change in Alberta.”
EPS revoked the publication’s press credentials in March 2022, after denying The Progress Report access to an online press conference on Feb. 24, 2022. EPS said in March 2022 that the service was reviewing Kinney’s credentials.
On Oct. 14, 2022, Kinney was arrested in Edmonton and charged with mischief in relation to the Aug. 10, 2021 vandalism of a statue of a Ukrainian nationalist and Nazi collaborator.
Kinney was later also charged with the Aug. 10, 2021 vandalism of a Second World War memorial outside an Edmonton church. The monument includes a tribute to Ukrainian soldiers who were members of Nazi army units.
In a statement posted on the Progress Report, Kinney said the mischief charge “appears to be an attempt by the EPS to silence and discredit a critic,” and that he intended to plead not guilty.
An Edmonton police spokesperson said the review of Progress Report’s media accreditation had been suspended until the conclusion of the mischief case, reported the Edmonton Journal.