Vancouver woman sues city and police chief over surveillance trailers
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver woman is taking the City of Vancouver and its chief of police to court over what she calls an invasion of privacy because of trailers with surveillance cameras set up in her neighbourhood.
Karina Papenbrock-Ryan lives in Chinatown, and in her civil suit against the city and Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer, she claims the city and Vancouver Police Department are violating her right to privacy.
VPD put a mobile trailer equipped with a telescoping mast that has several cameras not far from her home last month as a response to a surge in anti-Asian vandalism in the area.
Papenbrock-Ryan says the trailers make her uncomfortable and she actually goes out of her way to make sure she doesn’t have to walk past them.
“The argument that I don’t have anything to hide, so what do I have to be afraid of, is inherently flawed because privacy is a fundamental right and I don’t have to argue about my fundamental rights,” said Papenbrock-Ryan in an interview with CTV News Vancouver.
The VPD calls the units public safety trailers and says they are important for crime prevention.
“The trailers serve as a deterrent. They are not used for active surveillance and the video is only reviewed if is required for an investigation. Footage recorded is not retained, unless it is needed for investigation,” police said in a statement.
Papenbrock-Ryan’s lawyer believes putting the surveillance trailers into neighbourhoods without any legislative or regulatory authority violates section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which deals with the right to privacy.
“Just claiming, with or without evidence, that the trailers deter crime is not adequate to provide the Vancouver Police with authority to engage in mass surveillance,” said Jason Gratl.
The suit was filed on June 5 and the city and Chief Palmer have 21 days after being served to file a response.