An OPP officer detained GuelphToday journalist Richard Vivian and seized his camera and memory card while Vivian was reporting on a vehicle collision in Guelph, Ontario.
According to GuelphToday, Vivian, who is a senior reporter and assistant editor at the publication, had been on the scene of the collision for just seconds and was standing on the sidewalk taking photos when an OPP officer “yelled at him to stop” and then grabbed him.
“He came over and grabbed me by the jacket, my left wrist, so he had control of my left arm. He told me that he (was) seizing my camera,” Vivian told GuelphToday. Vivian said he gave the officer his camera and asked him to let go of his arm, which the officer refused to do.
“He informed me that had I not handed him my camera, I would have been arrested, and that officially it was seized by the coroner under the coroner’s authority to seize during an investigation,” Vivian told GuelphToday.
The officer took Vivian’s ID and told him to wait by a police car, which he did. After about 15 minutes, the officer asked Vivian if he was going to continue to wait; Vivian replied that he had been detained. The officer responded that he was free to go.
Other pedestrians were on the sidewalk when the officer initially stopped Vivian, and pedestrians continued to use the sidewalk, cross at the intersection and take photos of the scene throughout the time the journalist was detained, reported GuelphToday.
After an official from the coroner’s office arrived on the scene, the OPP officer told Vivian that they would return the journalist’s camera but had seized his memory card, which the officer described as “evidence in their investigation.” Vivian was not able to speak with anyone from the coroner’s office, and the OPP officer did not explain how or when his memory card would be returned.
The OPP returned Vivian’s memory card on Dec. 21, the day after he was detained. All of the photos on the card appeared to be intact, reported GuelphToday.
In a statement, OPP officer Joshua Cunningham in the OPP’s Wellington detachment said police are “reviewing the circumstances of the interaction between the member of the media and one of the OPP investigators.”