Weighing Video Evidence

Warning: The following videos are not gory, but do contain images of a police shooting.

My intent with this post is not to focus on the controversy of the incident, but to show how video can be deceiving.

-----------------

When considering video of an incident, it is important to remember that the images recorded at a specific point in time may not be enough for the viewer to fully understand the situation.

Watch the following 90 second video...





Marquise Hudspeth was the man shot, and the incident divided the town of Shreveport, LA in 2003.

The video offers convincing testimony that police shot an unarmed man in the back, right?

Now, watch footage of the same incident from a different vehicle's camera.






Some difference, huh?

The item in Hudspeth's hand that was mistaken for a gun was a cellular phone.

Obviously, one sample of video footage may not tell you everything you need to know.

You can learn more about the incident here.
___________________________

Note: The idea and videos for this post came from reading an article at PoliceOne.com.

28 comments:

lifeshighway said...

great post on keeping an open mind. I remember this case and I had never seen the second video.

Matthew Rush said...

Wow. This is really interesting. Video can be a wonderful tool for use as evidence but we have to keep in mind that it provides only such a limited perspective, which, while better than nothing, simply cannot tell the whole story.

Herding Cats said...

It was a phone?! Oh god. That's unfortunate. I liked looking at both perspectives though. It's interesting what video may or may not show you.

Yellow said...

I think that the video can be a great tool. But even in the first one you can see the officers are trying to get the suspect to stop and he is not, there is also the sweeping motion, which in a dark high stress situation the officers are likely to take as a weapon, as in the second video you see the officer duck down.

Travel Nurse Extraordinaire said...

Although he held the phone in a gun stance, it looked like they were close enough to see that it was a phone. I can only imagine in those moments, how difficult it is to know if it's a gun or not in the dark when they are worried about this guy shooting them or bystanders.

Hilary said...

Perspective sure is everything.

Expat From Hell said...

Or, as the Shreveport Chief said, it's suicide-by-cop. Now, there's a concept. This is chilling stuff, and makes me appreciate the fact that I can watch dashboard videos from a distant perspective. EFH

Audrey Allure said...

It's true for eavesdropping too - whatever people hear is only a small part of big conversation and can change the meaning behind certain phrases.

J. J. in Phila said...

It made a huge difference.

However, even in the first one, I saw a guy slowly walking away from the police, whose hands I could not see.

I'm willing to give the police at least some leeway even in that situation

Diane said...

Amazing! What used to be "solid" evidence will always be in question to me now with splicers that can do anything with video and pictures.

WomanHonorThyself said...

great point Slam thats how the media uses propaganda all the time especially agains Israel..Have a beautiful night my friend>:)

He & Me + 3 said...

Wow huge difference in the videos. That is crazy.

Amy Sullivan said...

Wow. You told us there was a police shooting. I don't know why I was surprised when I saw it. Yes, a lot can be said about perspective.

Stephen Tremp said...

Its a good thing for video footage, although if the first video angle was taken by a citizen and there was no second angle video then of course the cops would be in dire straits as the media would have a field day.

Shannon said...

Excellent point about reserving judgment. I think we often see video as capturing things as they are, not as they appear to be. Good reminder.

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
The penalty for hesitation on the part of an officer when NOT KNOWING (or being able to ascertain the specifics within those few seconds) can result in a woman becoming a widow...and children losing their father...or mother.

It's tough when any LEO has to make "the call", but given the circumstances, there is little choice, becasuse you never really know UNTIL the situation is under control.

But that's just my thoughts.

Stay safe.

kittycat said...

Very interesting view.
thanks for sharing.

Tara said...

That first video is deceiving. I'm surprised the media showed the second. It makes a much more shocking news story to only show the first perspective. *tongue firmly in my cheek*

Brian Miller said...

wow...all about perspective...and in that moment of decision we have only ours to rely on...

Dan said...

Viewpoint and also film quality are critical. Which is why it is a shame that the quality of the recorded images in most police car cameras is atrocious. (Budget constraints and a harsh vibrational environment lead to less than stellar camera equipment.)

On the other hand, given that eye witness accounts rarely agree fully, why would we expect differing camera views to be any different?

Lydia Kang said...

Wow. That was really something to see. I can understand why it caused so much controversy.

Sue said...

Wow... I didn't know it was a cell phone either.

Lt said...

Now consider that two objective video angles seem to tell different stories, how much more so when it's human beings who aren't objective. It's why eye witness accounts are so unreliable. We interpret what we see through our own unique world view. Important to keep in mind when speaking with an eye witness account.

kathryn said...

I'm imagining how emotionally charged these moments must be for all involved. Very telling, seeing the two videos individually.

Thanks for sharing it-

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Wow, the guilt to later find out you shot an unarmed man must be great. But it really did look like a gun--from both angles.

Holly said...

This is a great post and a great point. Video is tough...I grew up in LA and remember the Rodney King videos and the aftermath of the trials and the other beatings/incidents. They can tell us many sides or one side of a story.

LisaF said...

A map may technically be an infographic, and his teacher may think calling it that makes it more interesting....but THESE are infographics!

http://visualisationmagazine.com/100datavis.htm

aconnectiontomyheart said...

Guess the survivor guilt was not justified in this case.. Sad video.. No win here..
On a silly note, an eye catcher for me is your use of the word, cellular phone instead of celfone.. Thanks for that!