Ottawa Police Chief ducks as furor grows over pro-lifer’s confiscated camera
OTTAWA, March 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ottawa’s Chief of Police is sidestepping questions after one of his officers confiscated a camera from a pro-life activist last week, and then deleted all his photographs.
On Thursday, activist Donald Bruneau was filming from across the street as officers threatened his friend, Cyril Winter, with arrest because of Winter’s protest outside Ottawa’s Morgentaler abortion facility on Bank Street.
Bruneau says the officer, named Clark, approached him and demanded he hand over the camera. Fearing arrest for failing to comply, Bruneau gave him the camera. He says the officer took it and then walked into the abortion facility. Within an hour the officer returned with the camera, but had deleted all of the files.
The police have refused to comment on the incident. So on Monday, Sun News Network’s Brian Lilley pressed Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau on his Twitter account.
Bordeleau replied that police had “reached out” to Bruneau and that he should report the incident to the force’s professional standards department. But he defended the communications department for not commenting.
“It would irresponsible for staff to confirm an event that we have little or no information on - that would impact public trust,” he said.
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In a piece on Monday, Lilley emphasized that neither Bruneau nor Winter broke the law.
“These two men walk back and forth on the sidewalk with signs that quite clearly show they are opposed to abortion and the public funds that pour into the privately owned Morgentaler clinic to pay for the abortions,” he wrote.
“Nothing illegal in this; nothing illegal on their signs and nothing illegal in the location of their protest, but it seems some Ottawa police think they have authority even when the law does not grant them that authority,” he added.
Winter, who has been protesting outside the Morgentaler facility every week from Monday to Friday, says the police questioned him every day last week and again on Monday, but did not show up Tuesday.
“The police didn’t come today,” he told LifeSiteNews. “I must credit the publicity from LifeSiteNews and what Brian Lilley has done.”
“Today has been good. So I hope maybe that’ll continue,” he added. “It’s a blessing. When good people stand up, God makes things work.”
“They know now,” said Bruneau. “They know LifeSite is watching them. They know Sun News is watching them.”
Bruneau, who will appear on The Arena with Michael Coren on the Sun News Network Tuesday night, said he is leaning towards not filing a complaint out of concern that it could close other legal avenues, but is seeking legal advice.
According to Lilley, the police’s double standard when it comes to pro-life advocates is hurting their reputation among law-abiding citizens.
"We've seen police fail to enforce laws dealing with protests such as Idle No More and the Occupy movement but they are swift to act when elderly pro-lifers dare to walk on a sidewalk,” he told LifeSiteNews. "What the police across Canada have to realize is that this kind of double standard is eroding confidence in police within a group of people that generally support police and law and order issues."
"Chief Bordeleau should speak openly about what he will do to ensure officers don't overstep their bounds in the future,” he added.