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TV cameraman considering lawsuit against police

Steve Buist
Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Jun 12, 2006)

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

One of the television cameramen who was beaten up during a scuffle with protesters Friday said he's seriously considering taking legal action against the Ontario Provincial Police for dereliction of duty.

CH TV cameramen Ken MacKay and Nick Garbutt were assaulted as they attempted to film another altercation taking place in a parking lot near the occupied housing development on Argyle Street.

MacKay said more than a dozen OPP officers stood close by but didn't intervene when he called out for help.

"They looked at me but they did not utter a word, they did not make a move," said MacKay, who was not seriously injured in the scuffle.

His partner, Nick Garbutt, was treated at West Haldimand General Hospital for a gash to his head.

MacKay said news that the OPP was planning arrests in connection with the altercation was "too late."

"The horses are out of the barn," said MacKay. "They could have arrested them right on the spot."

Donna Skelly, a CH TV on-air personality and president of Local 1100 of the Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union, said the union will support whatever decision the cameramen make with respect to legal action.

"Clearly an assault took place and clearly (the OPP) allowed it to take place," said Skelly. "When did we give officers the opportunity to protect who they want and who they don't?"

Skelly noted that safety has become a growing concern for CH TV staff assigned to cover the Caledonia dispute.

"We're trying to figure out how to keep everyone safe," said Skelly. "They've been told they don't have to go if they feel unsafe."

CH TV executive news producer John McKenna said the station is filing an official complaint with the OPP about Friday's incident.

"It's just unconscionable that they could allow this to happen," said McKenna.

OPP Deputy Commissioner Maurice Pilon said an internal investigation is being conducted into the incident.

McKenna said that the station is evaluating the situation on a day-by-day basis but there are no plans to automatically pull its camera crews from Caledonia.

"We're still going to be covering this story for our viewers, but we have to figure out how to do it without endangering our people."

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