Saturday, July 23, 2011

SFPD manipulating youtube video footage?

In the photo above, courtesy of Race for the Times, it appears as though the "shiny object" in the infamous youtube video slowly morphed over time into a "shiny gun-looking object" to conveniently coincide with SFPD claims that Kenneth Harding had a gun and fired at the police officers who shot the teenager in the back while he ran away from them after being approached about a $2 transit pass.
I witnessed this morphing first hand and in real life. There's actually a discussion that took place online last Monday that can prove that. At the start of the conversation, I was adamant that there is no gun in the video. Later that afternoon, I conceded that the object looked more gun-like after I had rewatched the video on another computer, and I just assumed that the resolution must have been better. Maybe that was the case, maybe it wasn't. The pic in the upper right above does seem to have better resolution than the previous two, but I do find it odd that someone would feel compelled to repost a video with better resolution.
I do have to disagree with the bottom two screen grabs above though. That is the object picked up by the "man in the hoodie" allegedly apprehended by SFPD on Saturday night, but who is apparently still on the loose with that flat rectangular object seen in the video. That is not the "same object" as the top three screen grabs above. The morphing "shiny gun-looking object" is actually several yards further away from where Harding lay dying, but the fact does still remain that it slowly morphed into a gun over the course of time.
What is noteworthy about the bottom two screen grabs though is that a police officer is caught standing just a few feet away from the object when the "man in the hoodie" picks it up. The cop is facing the object, and sees the "man in the hoodie" pick it up, and does not react in any way. Since the cop is facing the object, which is likely a cell phone, he is also facing the "shiny gun-looking object" which lays just a few yards further away. I would hope that police officers would be trained to spot shiny handguns sitting on dirty sidewalks in broad daylight. Especially when they are trying to contain a crime scene. Especially when they're securing a crime scene that involved an officer involved shooting. In fact, if any of those police officers (and there were many as you can clearly see) believed that the victim had fired at officers, their first immediate concern would be to secure the weapon for their own safety, as well as for evidence.
But none of the officers are looking for a gun. Most of them actually turn their back on the victim and focus on crowd control immediately after the shooting. While they can't be blamed for that part, it is not believable at all that neither job training nor survival instinct would kick in at that point. The video evidence clearly proves that the majority of the officers on the scene do not consider Harding to be any kind of threat, and they are clearly not concerned with looking for any kind of weapon on the scene.
This case is not in any way helping with the already-suspect public image of the SFPD.
SFPD has already lost credibility with the public. Many have forgotten it was just three months ago SFPD was rocked with a scandal that involved dozens of felony cases being dropped because cops were shown on video behaving in unethical manners ranging from falsifying reports, illegally searching suspects, stealing from victims etc. What was shown was believed to be the tip of the iceberg and as a result a federal investigation was launched.

If that wasn’t enough, the scandal, which was the largest in the recent history of the San Francisco Police Department, wasn’t discovered and “policed” by the department itself. It was Jeff Adachi, the city’s public defender, and private defense lawyers who did the heavy lifting. Much of the scandal took place during the tenure of former Police Chief George Gascon, who now serves as district attorney. Talk about conflict of interest. At last count, a whopping 57 felony cases were dropped.
-SF Bay View

This case only continues the "consistent pattern of malfeasance" that Adachi uncovered.