Camera phones record fatal shooting of Oscar Grant

The availability of camera phones has made everyone a photographer and a movie producer. Now, we have a device that is with us 24/7, that can record just about anything. Sometimes, they record things we wish we couldn’t see with our own eyes.

On New Year’s eve in Oakland, 4 men were arrested by BART transit officers. BART officers are basically like CityRail officers in Sydney, Australia. Oscar Grant was one of the men that was put up against a wall and was sitting down. He has his hands up and is then forced to the ground, face first. One of the officers puts a knee against his head. Another officer jumps on top, pulls out his gun and then shoots him in the back.

Check out the footage below, in its raw form (there’s a long comment at 0.11 seconds).

That is just incredible footage of a man who was wrongly shot. He was not struggling, he was co-operating with the police and then he was shot for no apparent reason. There’s also another angle which has emerged from another girl who also shot it with her camera phone. I have no words to describe this, other than shocking. if you watch the officer he actually put his hands on his head as if thinking “What have I done?”.

The family is now suing for wrongful death and the BART officer in question has resigned.

I came across this incident via Flickr. I subscribe to the Flickr blog which highlights interesting photos. In the aftermath of the shooting, there was a memorial service and a protest against police brutality (sidenote: BART officers are not police officers). The protest then turned into a riot ala the Rodney King beatings which happened like 2 decades ago, and this was captured by a Flickr user who has uploaded the photos.

A colleague of mine suggested using the search engine Mahalo, so I thought I would give it a whirl. It gives you blended search results with a mixture of wikipedia style facts, video, and results from google, yahoo, live, flickr and youtube. One of the video’s I came across was a personal account of the riots, which show how dangerous it was and also the frustration of the youths at the end.

The availability of camera phones, the internet, the various platforms from flickr, youtube, and google, have made news so much more viral. It also allows us to see things from a different perspective. Without camera phones, we would not have visual evidence of what happened, other than the oral accounts of eye witnesses. User generated content now plays an important role in the dissemination of news items and to provide greater depth, angles, and storylines which we previously never had.

The camera phone recordings will also be crucial in the legal proceedings in finding justice for the family and perhaps to prevent incidents like this occurring in the future.

I’m out like the riots in Oakland,

Matthew Ho.

http://www.inspiredworlds.wordpress.com

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