Global News reporter sues Hamilton police for being forcefully arrested

A Global News journalist, Jeremy Cohn who was briefly arrested while covering a fatal crash last year has filed a lawsuit against Hamilton police, alleging an officer used excessive force in an effort to prevent him from filming.

The lawsuit seeks $700,000 in damages for negligence, false arrest, false imprisonment, assault, battery, mental suffering and breach of rights, as well as an additional $200,000 in punitive damages.

Cohn says Hamilton police Const. Jeffrey Todoruck  who is also targeted in the lawsuit  breached his duty by forcefully arresting a clearly identified journalist who was acting peacefully.

He says the officer aimed to intimidate him in order to prevent him from reporting on the May 16 incident, which claimed the life of a 10-year-old girl.

In a statement of claim filed this week, Cohn further alleges the Hamilton Police Services Board failed to ensure officers were properly trained to deal with journalists and encouraged or permitted a culture of disrespect toward media, among other things.

The allegations have not been proven in court and a statement of defence has not yet been filed.

Spokespeople for Hamilton police and the Hamilton Police Services Board said they do not comment on civil proceedings that may be before the courts.

The lawsuit alleges Cohn arrived on scene and learned that a freelance videographer had been arrested and was being held in a nearby police cruiser. The videographer, David Ritchie, appeared to be shaking and to have trouble breathing, the document says.