Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Woman Faces Harassment Charge after Posting Graffiti Picture of Cop Online

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Woman Faces Harassment Charge after Posting Graffiti Picture of Cop Online

Article excerpt

Pic of graffiti nets woman harassment charge


MONTREAL - A Montreal woman is facing a criminal charge after posting a photo online of graffiti showing a senior police officer with a bullet in his head.

Jennifer Pawluck was placed under arrest on Wednesday, released under conditions and ordered to appear before a judge at a later date to face a charge of criminal harassment.

On Thursday, the debate continued on social media sites and in mainstream media over whether a criminal charge was necessary in such circumstances.

The picture she snapped is of a graffiti drawing of Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere, a longtime Montreal police spokesman and one of the most visible faces of the force.

The photo appeared on her Instagram feed, a picture-sharing social media site.

Pawluck says she did not draw the graffiti in an east-end Montreal neighbourhood. It had the name "Ian Lafreniere" scrawled next to it and is unsigned. The caricature was wearing a uniform with the name "Ian" on the pocket.

Lafreniere is the police force's main public spokesman, especially on TV, when major events such as student protests or hockey riots break out.

The anti-police street artwork has since been removed from the wall of a commercial building. Pawluck took the photo on March 26 according to her Instagram feed.

The picture has made the rounds of websites and social media sites, with news of Pawluck's arrest being picked up by multiple media outlets.

There has been debate online on whether the charge was overblown when a warning might have sufficed. Pawluck's supporters have called for a show of solidarity at the Montreal courthouse on April 17 when she is set to appear.

Police defended the decision to proceed with charges. Spokeswoman Anie Lemieux says it's zero tolerance when lawyers, judges or police officers are believed to be targeted.

Lemieux said a prosecutor signed off on the arrest and that there is more to the case that can't be publicly discussed.

"It's something that is taken seriously and there is no tolerance when something like this targets someone from the justice system," Lemieux said. …

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