Toronto Police Threaten Bystander Taking Video of an Arrest

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Toronto Police Threaten Bystander Taking Video of an Arrest

Police officers tried to stop the witness filming the arrest.

Image via CityNews

Image via CityNews

A bystander-recorded video of Toronto police restraining and Tasering a man during an arrest also shows the witness being threatened by officers that his phone would be seized as evidence. The video, obtained by CityNews, also shows an officer telling the witness the man being arrested is “going to spit in your face, you’re going to get AIDS.”

The recording, shot on Tuesday at the corner of Dundas Street and Church Street, reportedly shows police arresting a man accused of assaulting a police officer.

The video raises issues about police conduct and what many are calling “HIV-phobic” comments — the virus that causes AIDS is not spread by saliva.

Canadians have the right to film or photograph police officers, as long as doing so doesn’t obstruct what the police are doing, something the bystander filming in this case repeatedly says he isn’t doing.

Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash called the video a “teaching moment” and told the Toronto Star that police officers have been told that citizens have a right to film them if it doesn’t pose any interference.

The footage emerges just a week after Pride Toronto voted to remove police floats from the annual Pride parade, in response to demands made by Black Lives Matter last summer.

Black Lives Matter also had a response to the video.

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