POLICE ARREST MEDIA OUTSIDE TORONTO ABORTUARY – CONFISCATE FILM
TORONTO, Oct 15 (LSN.ca) – Canadian pro-life hero Linda Gibbons was arrested again today outside the Scott abortuary in Toronto, three weeks after her last release from prison. The arrest was extremely unusual since media covering the protest from within the no-protest zone were also arrested.
Freelance journalist Sue Careless, LifeSite Director Steve Jalsevac, on assignment for the Interim and LifeSite, and Gordon Truscott, who is writing a book on Linda’s life, were all handcuffed and taken into police custody despite repeatedly informing the officers that they were official media. Moreover, Mr. Jalsevac and Mr. Truscott were not warned and given opportunity to leave the zone as legally required by injunction procedures. Jalsevac emphatically told all officers that he would have left immediately if asked although he questions whether police had any right to do so since he and the other reporters were not violating the injunction prohibitions. They had been cautious about not interfering with the officers or the abortion clinic operations or participating in any pro-life actions.
This morning at ten, pro-lifers Rosemary Connell and Rev. Ken Campbell joined Linda in the no-protest zone, picketing quietly and prayerfully. When eleven police officers arrived an hour later, the injunction was read and Mrs. Connell left the zone. Rev. Campbell did likewise after being specifically asked to do so. Mrs. Connell told LifeSite that as she was crossing the busy street to leave the zone she was approached by an officer who asked if she was leaving to which she responded in the affirmative. As she neared the outskirts of the zone another officer grabbed her by the arm and said she was under arrest but after a look from another officer let go and pursued no further.
After his release this afternoon, Mr. Jalsevac learned from other witnesses that the police also used excessive force in handling Linda. After first stripping the reporters of their cameras and video equipment, police handcuffed Linda behind her back and dragged her, one officer to an arm, across the street, face down with her toes scraping the pavement, to a police car. Observers note that this procedure is usually very painful since Linda’s body weight is supported by the arms being pulled up from behind the back. Officers normally carry Linda after she goes limp in identification with the defenceless child in the womb. Also, unlike any previous occasions, Linda was literally hurled into the police car.
The reporters were released at 2:30 this afternoon and amazingly charged with obstructing a police officer. All three also had their films confiscated which they believe was another serious violation of press freedom.
To protest this action contact Ontario Attorney General Jim Flaherty at: 720 Bay Street, 11th Floor, M5G 2K1 Telephone: 326-4000 Facsimile: 326-4016