Calgary Police Delete Photos

calgary police
Photo by Robert Thivierge

A photojournalist in Calgary found out the hard way that law enforcement will do whatever it takes to assert their power. Last Sunday, Robert Thivierge came upon a scene where four Calgary Police Service officers were arresting a man. He starting taking photos and was told to stop and delete his photos or – get this – he’d lose his camera for a year. 

What an outrageously asinine rule! Do these security guards live in a special fantasyland where they get to make up their own laws? Or is Canada just totally fine with trampling its citizens’ civil rights?

From Thivierge’s account:

The security guard on the left said the pictures I took didn’t belong to me, and I wasn’t allowed to have any of the images, and they’d have to be deleted.

Then, the other security guy talked to a cop, who said it was ok for me to go, with the images, saying the first security person “misspoke”.

Then, the next cop, said I couldn’t leave with an image that’s potential evidence. So, I would have to delete it, if I didn’t want to lose my camera for a year. When I said it would be illegal to delete evidence, they said it wasn’t evidence if it’s deleted. Make sense?

Thivierge says he is pursuing the matter and the police seem to be looking into it too, according to Metro News Calgary. I do hope he gets some answers. According to Thivierge, Canada does not have an ACLU equivalent or respect civil rights as we do in the US. To be sure, in this country, at worst, these officers (or whatever these guys are) are engaging in lying and stealing; at best, they’re just incompetent because they don’t know what their job parameters are.

Just remember this mantra, and repeat it to yourself if you’re ever in one of these situations: Police (or security personnel) do not have the right to take your property or delete your photos, and don’t be bullied into thinking otherwise.

Read a brief article on the Metro News Calgary site here.

See Robert Thivierge’s Flickr photostream here.

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2 Responses to “Calgary Police Delete Photos”


  1. 1 da January 13, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    I wrote a reply to Robert Thivierge’s picture of “MacCon covers-up for Calgary police misconduct” I wrote:

    Do you have nothing better to do than post these pictures all over the internet? Frankly it’s pretty annoying. Sure it was a mistake telling you not to take pictures and to delete them, but how would you feel if someone with a camera was following you everywhere taking pictures of you while doing your job.

    These people are doing their job trying to keep the public safe and it’s pretty fricking hard to do while some idiot is in their face taking pictures of everything they do. No one is perfect, and they probably know that they made a mistake.

    You are sitting at your desk acting all high and mighty saying it was wrong and going on and on about it. Yes they made a mistake, and probably leaned from it, so let it go. I don’t know you, but I am 100% sure that you make mistakes while you do your job.

    You think that security guard in the front is covering up what the officer is doing to that man, but he’s standing there facing the crowd so idiot people like you can’t run up to the officer and shove a camera in his face making the officer’s job harder. Do you even know why that man was arrested? The reason why it looks like he is covering something is because of the angle at which you shot the photo.

    Also, they used reasonable force to get the man down to arrest him, he was probably fighting the arrest. You have no clue who that man is being arrested, you have no clue as to why he was being arrested. If you don’t know what’s going on, quit assuming things.

    People think they because it is the Police or Security, that they should never make mistakes. It is that exact reason that their job is harder than anyone else so back the hell off. Police and security are there to keep you safe and assholes like you make it harder and harder to do.

    Apparently this man who is posting this photo everywhere online apparently cannot take some criticism. He believes that he can just sit on his ass all day and criticize the work of police and security and ignore and delete any comments that criticizes the nonsense he is spewing out. When he’s ranting about how and I directly quote from him, "Basically, the police don’t want independent observers. They want to be the sole source of the "truth"". Someone comes along and comment on his nonsense, he can’t take it. Kind of hypocritical of him don’t you think?

  2. 2 babydiscarted January 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

    It’s rude and nonsensical to malign this person on our blog 6 months after the incident. What makes you think you’re any better when you devolve into this sort of petty name-calling about a situation that you don’t have any firsthand knowledge of? (Unless of course you are one of the officers involved, and then you should identify yourself.)

    And by the way, it’s a lot bigger than making “mistakes.” It’s a blatant abuse of the law.

    Time to move on.


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