Jakub Markiewicz,16, who wants to be a journalist found himself arrested after he photographed an incident at a mall in Burnaby B.C.
While in a mall in Burnaby in September, Markiewicz snapped a photo of a man being arrested by security guards. The guards turned their attention to Markiewicz and demanded he delete the photo. Markiewicz was using a camera with film and so could not comply.
Marciewicz then attempted to leave the mall but took another photo as RCMP arrived. He claims that the security guards then tried to grab his camera and he was also pushed to the ground. Marciewicz said:"They're just yelling and screaming, and just telling me to stop resisting." Markiewicz was trying to protect the cameras in his bag. He admits he started swearing.
He was handcuffed by police and taken to a nearby RCMP cruiser by police and mall security. The guards again demanded the photos he had taken. Again he told them his camera used film. Since he was handcuffed, the police could not remove his backpack. They cut it off with a utility knife. Markiewicz said:"I was like, just perplexed. I was like, ‘What's going on here, why am I being treated like this?’”
Although arrested for causing a disturbance, Markiewicz was not charged. However, he has been banned from the Mall for six months. Zbigniew Markiewicz, Jakub's father said:"There’s no real threat to anyone by having a camera and snapping a picture."
Douglas King, a Vancouver lawyer, said that private mall security guards and police have no right to try and take someone's camera or even demand photos be deleted. This is true even on private property such as the mall. King said that often the police simply take the side of the guards. He noted:"They need to be able to look at this with a cool head, separate the parties, and really give a fair analysis to both sides, not put a kid in handcuffs and take him to a police cruiser." However Doug MacDougall of Metrotown Properties, who own the mall, said that Markiewicz had been told that he could not take photos inside the mall.
Tasha Schollen, speaking for the B.C. justice ministry, said that there had been 371 complaints about security guards since the start of 2011. Of the complaints, 22 related to the use of force, and five had led to enforcement action.
Police and security guards do not like to be photographed. The documentation can often be used as embarrassing evidence in trials or inquiries. In the UK there is even a new law that will prohibit photographing police, members of the armed forces, or intelligence personnel as shown on the appended video. Here is a link to another incident where a man in Austin Texas was arrested for taking photographs of police arresting a woman.
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