Sinclair Inquest: (un)Moving pictures

Just a quick update to the missing hospital camera footage situation, which raised a lot of eyebrows and questions.

While my other duties have prevented me from delving further into this myself, many have stepped forward through social media and other means to offer greater details.

First, I’d submit the following Twitter posts from Steve Lambert at The Canadian Press, a colleague of astonishing awesomeness:

[They need to be read in reverse order].

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So, in this instance, there’s a legitimate reason for the missing footage: with the camera zoomed in, and nothing moving, there was nothing to film over the five-minute period. [Although why the camera was zoomed in to this degree is an outstanding question].

We then have colleague Bruce Owen’s short piece this morning on an outside expert’s view of the HSC’s “recording on event” camera system, further corroborating the HSC’s position the missing video is “normal” in the circumstances.

If it’s the case, two of the three questions I asked in my last post appear to be answered to some degree.

The other: how the cop probing the case for a year didn’t notice the missing footage until he was told about it this week, remains to be answered.

I’m still left wondering why the camera didn’t pick up a rush of activity around the ER when staff finally approached to check on him.

Again, quoting CBC:

“The inquest heard a security guard realized Sinclair was not breathing and took him to get help. He was pronounced dead at 12:51 a.m. on Sept. 21, 2008. The security camera footage is missing from 12:47 a.m. to about 12:53 a.m.”

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I wear no tin-foil hat. But it just boggles that in this case such a key portion of a major piece of evidence the inquest has to work with isn’t there.

We’re often told of the objective value of surveillance cameras in public-safety scenarios, how they “don’t lie” and provide a neutral view of what took place [such as the murder of Gerald Crayford at the Pizza Hotline.]

But here ….

-30-

Pushing the dreaded ‘red dot’ around

(Winnipeg Police Service)

Maps depict incidents of: Assault, Asst. w/ weapon, sexual assault, fighting, gun seen, gun known, shots fired, gunshot wound, robberies and stabbing reports

(Assumption is the demarcation colours hold true today)

Violent Crime Hotspots March 29, 2008 to March 28, 2009 (1 year)

High intensity (over 1,400 dispatched events) zones along Main near Burrows and In the Central Park Area (that disperses in all directions)

Zones of Concern (no fewer than 1,100 dispatched events) at Higgins and Main and along Portage near Portage Place Mall.

Map 2: 

Violent Crime Hotspots March 29, 2009 to March 28, 2010 (1 year)

– High intensity  zones at Main and Henry, and along Portage near Portage Place Mall.

Zones of Concern in Central Park and along Main to about Euclid and Main at Henry.

What do the maps appear to say?

  • Police-reported violence in Central Park appears to be on the wane
  • The area around Portage Place has become more violent
  • Suggests there’s a contradiction in the current of opinion that states safety downtown is a matter of perception, not reality
  • Some of the violence plaguing north main past the Higgins underpass appears to have migrated south to the area near the Sally Ann and the new WRHA building
  • The CCTV camera at Main and Henry appears to be to one most likely to catch criminal activity
  • There’s a growing pocket of crime a block or so south of Salter near Manitoba and Magnus

These maps were embedded in a report on the effectiveness of the WPS’ crime camera pilot project. You can read about what it says here.

The precis version is that technological hiccups may have limited how effective the cameras can be, and there’s [apparently] no conviction results yet (from 2009? really?) to measure if the footage is holding up in court.

The tech. problems prompted State of the City to sagely ask: ” I also don’t get how (police) became responsible for tech risk & maintenance costs in the 1st place.”