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Wednesday WTF: G20 cops armed themselves with hipster DSLR cameras

simon wallace

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 26: Police officers hold back demonstrators protesting the G8/G20 summits on June 26, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Store windows were smashed and a police car set on fire during the protest which was one of several planned in the city to coincide with the gathering of world leaders for the G20 and G8 summits being held in Toronto and nearby Muskoka from June 25-27. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Last week we learned that the federal government spent $107,749.52 on Nikon DSLR D300s for the G20. For those of you who, like me five minutes ago, don’t know anything about photography let me tell you all you need to know about the D300s: it’s a really good camera. You can check out the reviews but, take my word for it, this is a whole lot of camera for a whole lot of money.

Now I don’t know what these particular cameras are used for but I do have a guess: mug shots. I asked a friend of mine who was arrested at the G20 protests about this. Here’s his response:

DSLRs? Well there were a whole bunch of cops with point-and-shoots — but I honestly think that was mostly for themselves: “Posterity’s sake?” I asked one of the (many) officers taking a picture of me with cuffs on, and he looked a little embarrassed. Initial “mug shot” at Queen’s Park was an SLR, but for some reason they had to do it again at the jail — an SLR there too… And then they had to do it again at the jail — which I assume was just a lack of organization. So yeah, at least two DSLRs, two high-quality video cameras, and piles upon piles of point and shoots, for what it’s worth to you.

To be fair, I’m sure the lighting conditions at the Eastern Ave. Jail weren’t exactly optimal so, um, maybe the cops did need something slightly better than a cell-phone camera. Either way, cameras, and lots of them, seem to be part of the new policing.  Again, my friend:

I remember one cop saying to another, in reference to some of the people that had been arrested, “that’s the biggest thing: You just don’t take pictures.” There is, in short, something they really don’t like about all the protesters with cell phones/cameras, etc., and they literally armed themselves with their own cameras in anticipation of this… and apparently arrested some people for the same reason.

In other G20 expense news: the feds also spent just under $18,000 on snacks at the Pickle Barrel. At that price, you’d think they might choose a better restaurant to eat at.

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