Video Manipulation Technology Posing Growing Threat

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between a real video and a distorted one. And for law enforcement, their safety is threatened when images and video are manipulated to the point where the public perceives that what happened in an incident, is completely different from what actually happened. And this type of manipulation technology is posing a growing threat to safety.

What We Hear vs What Actually Happened

Lately, we have been hearing stories in the media about how police officers are negatively interacting with the community. People are recording incidents on their cell phones and tablets and then forwarding these incidents to news media and posting on their social media. And it seems like most people believe what they see. But, many times, these images and video don’t capture the full story. In some cases, it gets edited to actually eliminate what took place prior to what was actually captured.

For example, a video might only show how an officer used force to subdue a suspect, but not show what compelled the officer to use force. As a community, we are then left to make our own conclusions and a false narrative often erupts.

What Was Reported:

  • A man was “shot by the police, because of a burned-out tail light.”

What Actually Happened:

  • The vehicle was stopped, because the driver resembled an armed robbery suspect. When police engaged, he attempted to draw a gun, despite multiple warnings from the officer not to do so.

What Was Reported:

  • A man was shot by police while “simply sitting with his girlfriend and baby.”

What Actually Happened:

  • The suspect had been firing a pistol in an urban neighborhood. When the police saw him sitting on a curb with a gun in his hand, he fled, then turned and fired at the officers.

How Can We Educate Ourselves?

  1. Don’t believe everything you hear or everything you see. Get your news and information from a professional and reliable TV medium. They will report the full story and disclose why police responded the way they did.
  2. Do your research. The only way to know for certain, is to know the facts.
  3. Don’t rush to judge. There is usually more to the incident than what is reported.
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