Investigators to Analyze 1,600 Hours of Video Evidence of Stanley Cup Finals Riot
(MIDLOTHIAN, TEX.) – The Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association (LEVA) has activated its Forensic Video Analysis Response Team in support of the Vancouver Police Department and Integrated Riot Investigation Team, which need to process an overwhelming amount of video evidence from a large riot in Vancouver, British Columbia. The June 15 riot, which broke out following the Vancouver Canucks’ loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, involved thousands of people and included looting, arson, destruction of public and private property, and assaults with weapons.
A team of 40 LEVA forensic video analysts and technicians from across the United States, Canada, and the U.K. will assemble for an intense two-week period starting Sept. 26 in Indianapolis at the LEVA Digital Multimedia Evidence Processing Lab at the University of Indianapolis. The Forensic Video Analysis Response Team was established when the lab opened in 2007, but this is the first time a member agency has activated the team.
“We’ve got about 1,600 hours of video evidence and close to 1 million photographs from hundreds of digital sources,” explained Grant Fredericks, technical manager for the project and owner and operator of Forensic Video Solutions, Inc. “The logistics of managing the processing and analysis of all this data is daunting, but this project will demonstrate the power of this lab and the relationship these analysts have with LEVA and their agencies.”
Unlike cities like London, Vancouver is not blanketed by government-based surveillance cameras. Instead, the video evidence collected for the Vancouver investigation has come mainly from private citizens who documented the riot with their cameras and cell phones, as well as some CCTV footage from private systems.
Vancouver police encouraged citizens to upload video and photos of the riot to a number of Web sites. “From a social media perspective, this is the first time that the public could participate in such a holistic way in an active investigation,” Fredericks said.
The analysis will include an exhaustive effort to identify suspects and verify every instance of criminal activity. First, analysts will use technology from Maryland-based Ocean Systems to convert all the video into one standard uncompressed file format. Then, using Ocean Systems software and nonlinear editing systems from Massachusetts-based Avid Technology, the footage will be “tagged” with metadata to catalog details – such as the color of a suspect’s baseball cap – that can be used to identify suspects. Once the footage has been tagged, suspects can be identified and their behavior tracked between video footage from the various sources.
Fredericks added that chain of custody and forensic processing best practices will be in place to ensure the video is unaltered and the evidence is authentic.
LEVA is a nonprofit corporation committed to improving the quality of video training and promoting the use of state-of-the-art, effective equipment in the law enforcement and emergency services community. Our mission is to serve as a key resource to the global public safety community by focusing on the needs of video production and forensic imaging disciplines by providing opportunities for professional development through quality training and informational exchange. We make a positive contribution to a more competent public safety establishment. Find out more at leva.org.