P.A. Police can prosecute posters of hateful social media commentary

By Glenn Hicks
February 12, 2018 - 12:00pm

Not unexpectedly there has been a deluge of social media commentary following the not guilty verdict handed down to Gerald Stanley in a Battleford’s court room late Friday.

But the public has a responsibility to keep the comments legal and not to stray into hatred or incitement.

“What we have is a lot of people posting their comments and opinions and that’s perfectly acceptable and it’s certainly not against the law,” Prince Albert Police Service Chief Troy Cooper told paNOW. But he added from time to time people might not be aware of what the fine line of the law is.

“We’re concerned some people, particularly those making intellectually immature comments, may wander into criminal behavior.”

Cooper said they will respond to complaints from the public and the bottom line is public social commentary cannot be something that incites hatred.

“They can’t identify a group or individual and incite hatred by their comments in a way that’s likely to cause people to act on it or breach the peace.”

During Sunday’s rally at the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Centre, Prince Albert mayor Greg Dionne told the crowd people needed to avoid the social media trap and not to “fall into that game … there are ugly things going on.” He said people who crossed the line would be prosecuted.

Cooper said the public should capture a screen shot or keep any email they deem to be of concern and report it to PAPS.

“We have technology staff who can retrieve that for prosecution if required.”


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