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Montreal police cite evidence beyond Instagram photo for graffiti arrest
MONTREAL—Jennifer Pawluck is facing criminal charges and a court date for sharing what she says she simply saw as art.
“For sure I noticed it was violent,” explained Pawluck. “But it was well done so I took a photo, that's all.”
The 20-year-old Montreal woman faces charges of harassment after she shared a photo on Instragram of graffiti depicting Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere shot through the forehead.
On Thursday, police confirmed that the woman was arrested at her home in Rosemont-Petite-Patrie a day earlier and was questioned by officers. The warrant for her arrest accuses her of uttering threats and using social media to harass a police commander.
According to Montreal police, information gathered during an investigation led to Pawluck’s arrest, not her sharing of the image on social media.
Pawluck participated in multiple student protests last year and was arrested and fined several times. Lafreniere, the head of the Montreal police’s media relations department, was a high-profile figure during recent conflicts between students and police.
When Cecile Savignac was on her way to do groceries in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve earlier this week, the graffiti stopped her in her tracks.
“As a citizen, I was shocked to see a specific police officer targeted,” said Savignac.
The Montreal police say they were alerted to the photo after receiving a tip from the public.
“It's taken very seriously. There's no tolerance whatsoever for intimidation or harassment towards people that are implicated or work for the justice system,” said Montreal police spokeswoman Anie Lemieux.
Pawluck says she never had malicious intentions when taking the photo and now that she's facing charges she feels it's all gone too far.
“They will be looking at her social media feed in general, in addition to the picture that was actually posted, and see whether it's the kind of thing that can be reasonably interpreted to be harassing either to him, his family or property,” explained criminal lawyer Edward Prutschi.
Pawluck is scheduled to appear in court on April 17, 2013.