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Police charge alleged heckler in Calgary

Police charge alleged heckler in Calgary

CALGARY – Calgary police have charged a man with hurling vulgarities at a female journalist while, ironically, covering the bad behaviour of hockey fans.

The man, who has not been named, faces a charge of stunting under the Traffic Safety Act.

CBC reporter Meghan Grant says she had been reporting along the Red Mile, a strip of bars and restaurants popular with Calgary Flames fans, the morning after a playoff game three weeks ago.

She was working on a story about poor fan behaviour, including the use of a sexually explicit phrase that has become a trend targeting female reporters in cities across North America.

Then, she says, she heard the line herself.

“All of sudden somebody pulls up in a truck behind us and yells it at us, which was absolutely stunning given what we were there talking about,” Grant says.

“We swung around only in time to see the truck driving away but we did get the licence plate.”

She says police tracked down the alleged heckler and told her Thursday that the man had been charged.

Police spokeswoman Emma Poole says police have received several complaints about similar harassment. She believes it’s the first time officers have laid a charge in such a case.

The non-criminal offence, defined as distracting, startling or interfering with other users of a roadway, carries a $402 fine. As of May 1, the fine was hiked to $543.

Grant says a fine seems like it is an appropriate penalty.

“Police told me he’s remorseful and he’s embarrassed. So if that’s the truth, you know, I think a fine is appropriate. It sends a message without giving him a criminal history.”

One of two men who recently uttered obscenities at a female reporter covering a Toronto soccer game was fired by his employer for violating its code of conduct. A video showing CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt confronting the men set off a firestorm on the issue.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay even weighed in, saying criminal charges could be used to stop the unacceptable behaviour.

By The Canadian Press

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