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GuelphToday files complaints against OPP, Coroner’s Office

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A local news organization says it’s filed formal complaints with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Chief Coroner of Ontario after its reporter was detained by police at the scene of a crash and had his camera confiscated last month.

Richard Vivian, a senior reporter at GuelphToday, was covering a fatal collision involving a pedestrian on the Hanlon Expressway on Dec. 20 when he was detained by an OPP officer.

“I’m still a good 40 metres from the scene. I just raised my camera and [in] literally a couple of seconds, the officer’s in my face” Vivian told CTV News the day after the incident. “He grabbed my jacket cuff on my left wrist to restrain me. I told him to let me go and he said ‘no.’ He demanded I give him the camera and told me I was being detained.”

Vivian claims he was detained for about 15 minutes.

“What I was told by the officer was that the Coroner’s boss had come to the scene and had decided they didn’t want to interrupt my ability to do my job, so I got the camera back, but they were keeping the [SD] card,” he explained.

Vivian said he didn’t get the SD card back until the next day.

OPP released a statement on Dec. 20 saying they would be reviewing the circumstances of the interaction.

In an email to CTV News, the Coroner’s Office stated: "If a coroner recognizes that the photographs would assist for the purposes of a death investigation, the Coroner's Act provides authority to seize the SD card, however, there would not be a need to keep a camera.”

They were also planning to review the incident.

GuelphToday confirmed with CTV News that complaints were filed last week with Ontario Provincial Police and the Coroner’s Office.

In an article posted Wednesday on its website, GuelphToday said the OPP has not contacted the reporter or the news organization.

-- With reporting by CTV's Jeff Pickel

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