Beaten Nearly to Death, Weak Video Lets Attackers Go Free

By: Carlton Purvis, Published on Jan 22, 2014

Watch this:

If you were a juror could you make a decision on what happened here? Eyewitness testimony and this video are the evidence prosecutors in Whitman County, Washington have to use in a felony assault case where a professor was beaten nearly to death. The video quality is so poor that prosecutors have declined to file charges in the case because they don’t feel they can support what eyewitnesses say happened.

The Case

Washington State University professor David Warner and his friend Lawrence McDonald had been drinking and were walking near campus when McDonald got belligerent with a group of people who were standing nearby. The video shows McDonald “move aggressively” toward the group and then Warner grab him from behind to pull him away from the confrontation. They fall. It’s not clear if they trip or were pushed. Immediately the group descends on the men.

The Injuries

Warner suffered a broken skull and was rushed to an intensive care unit at a local hospital. He didn't open his eyes for a month. Warner's head injuries were so bad he had to re-learn how to walk, talk and eat.

What Witnesses Say

Police say they talked to 20 people "related to the case" and interviewed eight witnesses. Witnesses say they saw punches and kicks thrown while the men were on the ground, but the prosecutor says the video doesn’t show it.

“There were individuals who said that he was struck by one person or that he was struck by another person, and we know based on video evidence that nobody ever punched him particularly,” Whitman County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Bill Druffel told KREM, a local TV station [link no longer available].

What the Prosecutor Says

Druffel says McDonald could have been punched or shoved causing them to fall, or Warner could have just lost his balance and brought them both down, injuring is own head in the fall. He says he’s watched the video hundreds of times and, he doesn’t think he could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the men were kicked or punched.

Obstructed Video

Crucial moments in the video that would show if McDonald was hit first or if they were kicked were blocked by a vehicle and a tree and the quality is questionable. Here is a screenshot of the assault happening:



The suspects then fled on food and were eventually identified by police using footage from nearby cameras. Prosecutors announced last week that they would not file charges.

Analysis

Given the seriousness of Warner's injuries, the way the group descended on the men after they fell and how the group fled after the incident, it's likely that there was some sort of assault that took place. In this case the prosecutor decided that even with eyewitness testimony, the case wasn’t strong enough to prosecute because the video didn’t show it clearly. Just because the video doesn't show it, doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Comments (11) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained on Jul 08, 2020
The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020,...
Verkada: "IPVM Should Never Be Your Source of News" on Jul 02, 2020
Verkada was unhappy with IPVM's recent coverage declaring that reading IPVM...
Amazon, Microsoft and IBM Abandoning Face Recognition Is An "Irresponsible PR Stunt" Says AnyVision on Jul 17, 2020
In the wake of national protests against US police abuses, big tech firms...
Athena CEO Criticizes 'Deplorable' 'Nitpicking', IPVM Refutes on Mar 27, 2020
Athena Security's CEO Lisa Falzone has strongly objected to IPVM's reporting...
SIA Director Dismisses Coronavirus, Don't Cancel ISC West on Mar 03, 2020
SIA Director and ISS executive Janet Fenner has come out criticizing the lack...
Wrong Dahua Australia Medical Device Approved on Jul 20, 2020
Dahua's body temperature system is now in Australia's medical device...
Facial Recognition: Weak Sales, Anti Regulation, No Favorite, Says Security Integrators on Jul 07, 2020
While facial recognition has gained greater prominence, a new IPVM study of...
Dynamic vs Static IP Addresses Tutorial on Apr 16, 2020
While many cameras default to DHCP out of the box, that does not mean you...
UK ICO Approves Unconsented Facial Recognition At Security Conferences on Feb 05, 2020
The UK's data protection agency has declined IPVM's GDPR complaint against...
Industry Study: 83% of US Temperature Screening Sellers Falsely Say Not Medical Devices on Jun 29, 2020
83% of US companies selling temperature screening devices, aka 'fever'...
Fever Cameras Are Medical Devices, Per The FDA, Dahua, Feevr, Hikvision, InVid Contrary Claims Are False on May 28, 2020
Fever cameras are medical devices, despite what euphemisms various sellers...
Latest London Police Facial Recognition Suffers Serious Issues on Feb 24, 2020
On February 20, IPVM visited another live face rec deployment by London...
Don't Deceive. Lessons From Scott Schafer on Mar 20, 2020
Deception is bad. We can learn some important lessons from Scott Schafer, a...
Beware Of Feevr on Apr 14, 2020
Beware of "Feevr". The company is marketing a 'Feevr' solution that...
Fever Camera Sales From Integrators Surveyed on Jun 01, 2020
Fever cameras are the hottest trend in video surveillance currently but how...

Recent Reports

VSaaS Will Hurt Integrators on Aug 06, 2020
VSaaS will hurt integrators, there is no question about that. How much...
Dogs For Coronavirus Screening Examined on Aug 06, 2020
While thermal temperature screening is the surveillance industry's most...
ADT Slides Back, Disappointing Results, Poor Commercial Performance on Aug 06, 2020
While ADT had an incredible start to the week, driven by the Google...
AHJ / Authority Having Jurisdiction Tutorial on Aug 06, 2020
One of the most powerful yet often underappreciated characters in all of the...
SIA Coaches Sellers on NDAA 889B Blacklist Workarounds on Aug 05, 2020
Last month SIA demanded that NDAA 899B "must be delayed". Now that they have...
ADI Returns To Growth, Back To 'Pre-COVID Levels' on Aug 05, 2020
While ADI was hit hard in April, with revenue declining 21%, the company's...
Exposing Fever Tablet Suppliers and 40+ Relabelers on Aug 05, 2020
IPVM has found 40+ USA and EU companies relabeling fever tablets designed,...
Indian Government Restricts PRC Manufacturers From Public Projects on Aug 04, 2020
In a move that mirrors the U.S. government’s ban on Dahua and Hikvision...
Directory of 201 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on Aug 04, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers...
Face Masks Increase Face Recognition Errors Says NIST on Aug 04, 2020
COVID-19 has led to widespread facemask use, which as IPVM testing has shown...
Dahua Loses Australian Medical Device Approval on Aug 04, 2020
Dahua has cancelled its medical device registration after "discussions" with...
Google Invests in ADT, ADT Stock Soars on Aug 03, 2020
Google has announced a $450 million investment in the Florida-based security...
US Startup Fever Inspect Examined on Aug 03, 2020
Undoubtedly late to fever cameras, this US company, Fever Inspect, led by a...
Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco on Aug 03, 2020
Motorola Solutions has acquired Pelco, pledging to bring blue back and make...
False: Verkada: "If You Want To Remote View Your Cameras You Need To Punch Holes In Your Firewall" on Jul 31, 2020
Verkada falsely declared to “3,000+ customers”, “300 school districts”, and...