20 year old Jennifer Pawluck was arrested recently in Montreal for taking a photo of graffiti and posting it to Instagram. The graffiti work is of Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière with a bullet through his head. Jenn didn’t create the piece of artwork on the wall, but once again she posted it and shared it via the popular social network–and for this reason she was arrested. Dany Richer of the Montreal police force, told the CBC: “There are circumstances that surrounded the publication of this image, circumstances that we can’t reveal because it is still under investigation.” Specifically, the police are citing the sharing of the photo as Harassment of a legal official.
Common sense may hint that she should perhaps be connected to the person who created the image, but that’s not totally clear at the moment. It is a known fact though that she is a, “supporter of the student movement” that protests often in Montreal. To catch everyone up to speed, the Canadian government has made proposals to raise university tuition from $2,168 to $3,793 between 2012 and 2017. And students are protesting this–it’s a similar issue that American students face with college loans.
However, let’s analyze this: she was arrested for taking a photo in public of graffiti on the wall. In fact, the #graffiti hashtag on Instagram is huge and there are loads of contributors. But the fact that she took an image and shared it (which is seemingly what she was arrested for) is really quite scary. Here in the US, people are not allowed to take photos of certain structures due to them being secret government property–and that sort of makes sense. But the image is something that was just on a wall. The photo went viral though, and hundreds of thousands of others haven’t been charged yet.
Montreal has tough graffiti laws (despite it being everywhere), but taking pictures in public is something that many people consider a right. Jenn was released on the conditions of staying 1KM away from police headquarters and needs to stay away from the police chief.
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