Student Convicted of Harassment for Street Art Instagram

The Instagram post that led to Jennifer Pawluck's conviction for criminal harrassment. Photo: Jennifer Pawluck, via Instagram.

The Instagram post that led to Jennifer Pawluck’s conviction for criminal harrassment.
Photo: Jennifer Pawluck, via Instagram.

A politically-charged Instagram post has led to a criminal conviction for Jennifer Pawluck, a 22-year-old Canadian student. In 2013, Pawluck shared a photo of a paste-up depicting Montreal police officer Ian Lafrenière, lead officer for communications and media relations for the department, with a bullet in his head.

Pawluck was arrested shortly after sharing the photograph with the hashtags “#IanLafreniere” and “#acab,” short for “all cops are bastards,” to her 81 followers. She was accused of posting the anonymous work with the intention of harassing Lafrenière, a charge she denied.

Last month, Quebec court judge Marie-Josée Di Lallo found Pawluck guilty of criminal harassment, and on May 14 handed her a suspended sentence, with 18 months probation and 100 hours of community service to be completed within one year. Pawluck could have faced up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

“Many of my friends do not like the police,” Pawluck told Huffington Post Québec at the time of her arrest. “I thought it would be funny to put the picture on Instagram. I do not even know who he is.”

Jennifer Pawluck leaving court after being sentenced to 18 months probation. Photo: Paul Chiasson, courtesy the Canadian Press.

Jennifer Pawluck leaving court after being sentenced to 18 months probation.
Photo: Paul Chiasson, courtesy the Canadian Press.

As part of the terms of her probation, Pawluck is banned for a year from using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (except for private messages), the Globe and Mail reports.

In handing down her verdict, Di Lallo told Pawluck that in the future, she should be wary of the consequences “that a simple click” can have.


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