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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Facts the media aren't telling you explain why a Montreal woman was convicted for posting an Instagram picture

A Montreal woman was convicted of criminal harassment for posting a photo of some graffiti art depicting a police spokesman with a bullet in his head and blood pouring out of the gaping, presumably fatal, wound. The woman, Jennifer Pawluck, didn't create the graffiti herself, so there has been a substantial amount of shock at what, on the surface, seems like a miscarriage of justice.

However, just about all the media reports have left out significant details about the case which led to the conviction.

Ms Pawluck didn't merely post a the photo, but on her Instagram account, under her user name "anarcommie," she also tagged the photo, twice, with the name of the policeman depicted, Commander Ian Lafreniere, and she also tagged it with the hashtag #acab, which stands for "all cops are bastards." In addition, Ms Pawluck included what would appear to be her endorsement of the image by writing "okkkkkkk" and including emoji symbols of a raised fist and a clenched fist.

It wasn't just taking a picture of someone else's street art that led to Pawluck's conviction, but her own words and the implicit threats they represented. The Montreal Gazette has a more comprehensive report. But generally, media like the CBC and CTV are representing the issues in an exploitative way to whip this up as a story of suppression of dissent, when some of Ms Pawluck's other Instagram comments, like "One Cop, One Bullet" suggest something else entirely.


Skippy Stalin said...

What threat, exactly?

Was there any evidence presented that Pawluck had means, motive or intent to engage in an act of violence?

Richard K said...

The implication of tagging someone to a picture of them with a bullet in their head and various written forms of apparently condoning the threat.

She was convicted of criminal harassment and under the law, sending out those messages easily could fall within the definition. Take a look:


Skippy Stalin said...

Perhaps the person who painted the mural might fall under the application of the statute, but as a simple free speech issue, I don't believe the republication of it should.

If it does, I would argue that every outlet that has reported the story, including yours, is guilty of the same offense.

Richard K said...

That would only make sense if you don't see any difference between reporting about someone making a death threat and someone actually making a death threat.

Again, the conviction wasn't just for her sending out the photo of that image with a message like, "Look what I saw painted on this wall." The messages she included, in the context of sending it along with that picture, were deemed by the court to be threatening. I don't think you have to apply a lot of insight or imagination to see how that could be the case, particularly considering some of the other messages that woman had sent out via social media.

Robert What? said...

The Left have a very schizophrenic relationship with big government. They distrust it, yet keep voting and advocating for it. They seem to think that if only they got the right people in there, all would be well, not realizing that the very size of it is the problem, not the people running it.

Skippy Stalin said...

I would argue that this is a much bigger problem for the modern right, whose rhetoric on the size of government is directly contradicted by its actions.

Government is dramatically larger as a consequence of both George W. Bush and Stephen Harper, which I suppose is fine, if the public supports that nonsense. Where I have a problem is that they both expanded government without bothering to pay for it, resulting in huge deficits.