Hamilton police reviewing arrest of two journalists at scene of fatal collision
Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017 4:21PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, May 17, 2017 6:56PM EDT
Hamilton’s police chief says he will be reviewing the incident that led to the arrest of two journalists at the scene of a fatal collision in Waterdown on Tuesday evening.
A collision at Evans Road and Highway 5 at around 6:30 p.m. resulted in the death of a 10-year-old girl.
A video captured at the scene of the collision shows Global News cameraman Jeremy Cohn and freelance photographer David Ritchie being tackled by officers and forcibly removed from the scene.
Chief Eric Girt issued a statement in a news release one day after the incident.
“As chief of police, I take the arrest of any member of the media seriously,” Girt said. “As a result, I am reviewing this incident in the context of what transpired yesterday.”
Senior vice-president of Global News Troy Reeb told CP24 on Wednesday that the incident merits further investigation.
“We are very concerned by the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a Global News journalist in Hamilton yesterday,” Reeb said. “While we are satisfied he was quickly released without charge, the incident merits further investigation and we will be following up directly with Hamilton Police Service.”
As well, the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression spoke out about the matter in a statement issued on Wednesday morning saying they are calling on Hamilton police to drop the charges laid against Ritchie.
“We call on Hamilton Police Services to drop the charges against Ritchie and demand an immediate public inquiry into the circumstances which lead to the forceful detention and arrest of members of the media,” the statement read.
According to the CJFE, all accounts from the scene indicate that the two journalists involved did not cross a police line before they were detained.
“It remains unclear what led Hamilton Police Service officers to believe that forcefully detaining two working journalists was a necessary or correct course of action.”
A news release issued by Hamilton police said that two members of the media were arrested at the scene; Cohn was released unconditionally and Ritchie was charged with obstruct of a peace officer and resisting arrest.
Ritchie is scheduled to appear in court on June 15.