A Rebel News reporter in Montreal, Quebec was ticketed while out documenting police enforcement of the province's curfew during the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Yaakov Pollak was on the streets after Montreal's 8 p.m. curfew investigating whether police were once again cracking down on the city's Jewish population for contravening social gathering restrictions. Public health had previously apologized in late January to the city's Hasidic community, following confusion over gathering rules and religious services.
Police pulled Pollak over on multiple occasions, initially granting leniency when they had realized he was out as an essential worker, a category which includes media.
“You guys are giving tickets, and I'm reporting [on] you,” Pollak told an officer on his during his encounter. “I'm press, I'm media,” he explains as police begin to question him.
Shortly after, Pollak would be pulled over yet again.
This time, police pressed Pollak harder for credentials to indicate his status as an essential worker, providing them a letter proving he was doing essential work.
“Everything's good, everything checks out,” an officer replied after seeing his paperwork. “Just make sure you're on the sidewalk,” he added.
Eventually, Pollak encountered a Montreal police supervisor who asked him to move his vehicle, but did allow him to continue filming without issue.
However, Pollak eventually ran into a pair of officers who were less understanding about the concept of press freedom.
“This is essential, tonight, to be outside?” the officer asks. “Yes,” Pollak replies. “Essential?” the policeman responds, while making a dismissive face as his partner questions why this is essential.
“Because media is essential,” Pollak replies as the officer tells him to wait nearby. Moments later, an officer informs Pollak that he's getting a fine.
“Goodluck with your YouTube channel,” one officer adds after handing Pollak the ticket.
“I will fight this and I will win this,” Pollak declares. “This is shameful.”
Additionally, Pollak had previously confirmed with Montreal police that media was, in fact, deemed an essential service. At the time of the charge, he was carrying both a media I.D. and a letter from Rebel boss Ezra Levant.
Rebel News has been fighting COVID-19 restriction tickets across Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom through a special portal at www.FightTheFines.com, where we crowdfund donations to hire top-notch lawyers to dispute these charges.
If you or anyone you know have received a charge for a COVID-related infraction, visit Fight The Fines and tell us your story. Or, if you would like to help us keep fighting for civil liberties, you can make a donation at FightTheFines.com.