Can Video Lie? Philadelphia Cop Acquitted Despite Incriminating Images


Can a million people on YouTube see what they believe to be a Philadelphia police officer striking a woman to the ground and a judge see something else? So asks the Philadelphia inquirer, quoting Municipal Court Judge Patrick Dugan as saying, “This is not a social media contest” after finding former Lt. Jonathan Josey not guilty of doing what the viral video seemed to show he had done: strike a woman during last year’s Puerto Rican Day festivities. Grant Fredericks, a former Vancouver, British Columbia, police officer who operates his own business, Forensic Video Analysis, says digital technology can be deceiving. “There’s an old adage, the video is a silent witness,” he said. “That’s an extremely dangerous idea today with digital video. Digital video is not what people think it is. In most cases, it’s an altered and compressed medium.” He adds, “The appearance of motion and force is distorted.” Fredericks reviewed video of Josey’s actions and noted several missing images, which would result in the key event occurring faster than it actually did.

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