TORONTO - This journalist covering a crime scene was handcuffed, arrested and jailed.
Toronto Police’s Professional Standards branch has opened a probe into how, earlier this year, a veteran Toronto radio personality was detained and held in a cell for a night.
Law-abiding, but sometimes critical of Toronto Police over the past decade — and post the lessons learned from the G20 — John Downs would also like to know.
“The relationship has occasionally fallen into the dysfunctional but by no means did I expect this,” said Downs.
For trying to take a picture for his news outlet’s website, the Newstalk 1010 host of Friendly Fire with Ryan Doyle found himself in a not-so-friendly incident with police last winter.
“My left cheek is up against the cold sidewalk. My chin is burning after being scraped along the cement. A right knee is digging into my back. My right arm, pinned under my chest. With firm direction, the officer tells me to, “Stop resisting!” as if I have any choice regarding the position of that right arm.”
It was Jan. 18, 2013. He and his girlfriend went out for dinner and drinks with friends.
It was fun night.
“We boarded the streetcar to go home when at Brant St. and King St. W. I could see the lights of an ambulance and a young man lying on the street with blood covering the pavement beside him.”
The newsman reacted.
“The reporter part of my brain takes over,” he said. “I rang the bell on the streetcar and told my girlfriend I’d see her at home soon.”
Not so soon, though.
“I jogged a couple of hundred feet back west to the scene and snapped two photos. Both bloody.”
A Toronto firefighter took exception even when Downs told him he was media.