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What’s happened to all the G20 video, pictures?

Amy Miller, one of the arrested independent journalists at the G20 summit last month (see previous blog post), tells me that all the journalists and others she knows who recorded police arrests/abuse/beatings etc. had their cameras wiped or “gone missing” while they were in the detention centre.

That video would obviously be useful for the public record about those fateful two days. It may be evidence for someone’s defence. It could be damning evidence about the actions of the police. Or it could support the actions police took. In any case, it’s all gone, and we should all be demanding whether police kept copies of the material confiscated, and whether and how it will be used.

Here’s an example of some of what these independent journalists tell me:
Scott Weinstein says he was arrested July 1 at the Montreal G20 solidarity demo. He says he was told “that the group of agent provocateurs/undercover police who tried to infiltrate the demo previously” were at the demo, and he started filming them. “I was on the street and they then left the sidewalk and surrounded me, grabbed me and tried to take the camera. I want to state clearly that I at no time touched them or tried to fight back. I simply held onto the camera as long as I could (about a few minutes). I lay on the ground, trying to get into a fetal position as they were kneeing me and hit me with a few punches. It seemed about 4 or 6 of these guys were on top of me, and for a while, I had the illusion that I could actually keep them from taking the camera away… I was arrested, charged with assaulting the police with my bicycle, and they got the camera….I was held till about 5:30 p.m., and to my surprise, I was released. My camera and digital card were returned to me, but the file containing the film of the agent provocateurs was erased, along with photos I took of some of the speakers at the demo, and some of the vans carrying riot police.”

Lisa Walter, the Our Times journalist, says she got her still camera and video camera back from police after her detention, but the memory card was taken from her still camera, and they erased the data on the video camera’s hard drive.

Jesse Freeston, a video-journalist with The Real News Network, says he was attacked and had his mic temporarily taken away from him on Friday June 25th while covering the “Justice for our Communities” march. He thinks it was in order to stop him from filming what appeared as excessive force by police in order to clear an area after they made “a very suspicious and violent arrest of a deaf man named Emomotimi Azorbo”. His video is here.

Some find it easy to dismiss the complaints of the G20 independent journalists because…well….they’re independent and they have a point of view. They happen to be young, in most cases, and consider themselves activists. So what? Those are not good enough reasons for police to steal their private property and rob them and the public of the valuable images that was contained on all those hard drives and memory cards.

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