Body Camera Videos as an Eyewitness for Criminal Defense Cases

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It’s after midnight and you’re fast asleep in the back of your truck after a long day of driving. Federal regulations prohibiting truckers from driving over a certain number of hours each day forced you to pull over for the night with little planning as to where. An abrupt knock on the door jolts you awake and, concerned for your safety, you emerge with self-defense in mind. To your surprise, the knock came from a police officer who was coming to retrieve payment for the parking location. The realization comes a moment too late, however, and you’re taken into custody for resisting arrest. The police officer’s body camera recorded all this activity, making it a perfect case for Primeau Forensics’ video enhancement.

Our client (who will remain anonymous) was traveling across the country when this incident took place and was forced to find an attorney in the area in which it occurred. He traveled hundreds of miles from his home in order to be present at each court date. While it may have been easier for him to plea guilty, the charge would have a significantly negative impact on his business. “I vividly remember every second,” he said. “The police officer did not identify himself as he was pounding on my sleeper cab door.”

police worn body camera videos provide eyewitness video evidence

A case for video enhancement

Our client’s attorney didn’t believe forensic video enhancement would help his case. Instead, he requested a hefty retainer for his services while the client entered a plea of not guilty. Several months later, our client called us directly. While a majority of the cases that Primeau Forensics’ investigates come to us through attorneys, our client found us while doing online research. He believed that by forensically enhancing the police officer’s body camera video, the Trier of Fact could see and hear the events as they originally occurred and he would be exonerated. We enhanced the video recording per our client’s request and his lawyer presented the forensically enhanced recording during his trial. While we didn’t testify, the prosecutor stipulated the report and dropped all charges.

body camera videos act as eyewitness in criminal cases

Body camera videos as an eyewitness

The truth is not always visible to the Trier of Fact (judge and jury). Video recordings, like that of our client discussed here, help bring the scene of the crime into the courtroom. Once verified as authentic, these recordings provide a front-row seat for the Trier of Fact to see and hear events as they originally occurred.

Nearly four decades worth of experience as forensic experts have taught us that video evidence is often better than an eyewitness. An eyewitness can tell his or her story ten times, each version being slightly different. A video recording, on the other hand, is identical each and every time, meaning its story has no variations. Most importantly, a video recording can be forensically enhanced in order to better see the events as they originally occurred.

Contact Us

Primeau Forensics’ works with video recordings in both criminal and civil cases. If you have a video recording that you would like to have entered into evidence in your court case, speak to your lawyer and contact us for a pro bono consultation.

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