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Laquan McDonald Police Video With Audio is Fake

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Dash cam video of the Laquan McDonald shooting was released by the Chicago police department. Although most dash camera video recordings include an audio track, this dash cam video did not include audio. In a heightened state of concern, concerned citizens believed that the audio portion of the video recording was intentionally deleted or altered.  Did the equipment malfunction or is there another reason why the audio portion of this incident was not recorded? In the meantime, a video of the same incident, allegedly with audio, was posted on YouTube. Concerned citizens believed that this video was genuine and included the missing audio. Primeau Forensics was asked to investigate the YouTube video and offer an opinion as to the authenticity of this second version of the dash cam video that included audio.

During our investigation of the YouTube video titled “Is this the audio? Chicago Police dashcam video of Laquan McDonald shooting”, we discovered several anomalies and inconsistencies that scientifically revealed the second YouTube video is a fake. Using Time Domain Analysis, Frequency Domain Analysis, and Critical Listening Skills we have outlined these anomalies and inconsistencies below.

Frequency Analysis:

Frequency_Analysis_Laquan Laquan McDonald Police Video With Audio is Fake

 

In the image above, the Spectrogram reading shows the cutoff frequency of the gunshots well above the cutoff frequency of the noise floor (background noise, radio chatter & siren). A display of the difference in frequency content between the gunshots and background noise is displayed in the image below. The gunshots are represented by the red vertical sections.

Frequency_Analysis_Laquan_2 Laquan McDonald Police Video With Audio is Fake

The cutoff frequency of the audio content from the YouTube video titled “Is this the audio? Chicago Police dashcam video of Laquan McDonald shooting” is around 16 kHz. This is displayed in the image below:

Frequency_Analysis_Laquan_3 Laquan McDonald Police Video With Audio is Fake

Based on my experience, audio recorded evidence produced from law enforcement vehicles contain a cutoff frequency of 4 kHz. I have examined the frequency analysis of the audio recorded in the original video ( the video with no audio- lack of radio communication & officer dialogue). The cutoff frequency analysis of the original audio portion of the video recording is 4 kHz and displayed below:

Frequency_Analysis_Laquan_4 Laquan McDonald Police Video With Audio is Fake

 

Based on my forensic testing and analysis, I can confidently say that the audio portion of this second YouTube video has been manufactured and added to the video after the original video was created. Why would anybody add audio to a video recording? In an attempt to deceive and make the video more powerful with a fake audio track. The video recording with the fake audio deceives the viewer. Although it appears to be real, it is indeed fake.

 

Frequency_Analysis_Laquan_5 Laquan McDonald Police Video With Audio is Fake

  • The original video released by Chicago Police contains recorded audio content of cross-talk, and alternator or engine noise (see above image). The noises that are audible within the original video recording are low in amplitude but can be heard with a significant increase in volume. Because this digital recorder in the police car recorded an audio track, it is my opinion that the digital video recorder was functional and had the ability to record sound. Because of the lack of officer dialogue and radio chatter, we believe the lack of these sounds was due to the following reasons:
  1. The on-person lavalier microphones within the vehicle were muted
  2. The on-person lavalier microphones within the vehicle were disconnected
  3. The on-person lavalier microphones within the vehicle were deactivated
  • The gunshots, and radio chatter heard throughout the YouTube video titled “Is this the audio? Chicago Police dashcam video of Laquan McDonald shooting” are duplicated, equalized and are not genuine or authentic. Previously in this blog I discussed the inconsistency between the cutoff frequency of the gunshots and cutoff frequency of the background noise within the audio content. In addition, the audible fingerprint of the gunshots within the Spectrogram has a distinct shape, size, and intensity that are consistent with duplication or repetition. The frequency decay of the gunshot, timbre or sound of the gunshot, as well as duration of the sound are almost identical. The gunshots are displayed in the image below:

Frequency_Analysis_Laquan_6 Laquan McDonald Police Video With Audio is Fake

The radio chatter sample at timecode 0:04.387 (MM:SS:MS) is an exact duplicate of the radio chatter sample 0:03.000 (MM:SS:MS). The conversation being spoken is identical. The difference between the two is that the duplicate has been processed using equalization to deceive the listener into believing it is additional radio conversation.

This video claiming to have genuine audio is indeed a fake. The Laquan McDonald Police Video With Audio is Fake.

Video Evidence in an Advanced Technology World

Friday, November 16th, 2012

technology-1024x593 Video Evidence in an Advanced Technology WorldWhen I receive a video recording that is evidence to be used in litigation there are several activities, as a video forensic expert, that I employ during the video investigation. First, watching the file in its entirety, viewing the contents of that video, is important for the forensic expert examination and investigation process to completely understand what has been recorded and is being presented to the court. Secondly, whether I’m working for the defense or the prosecution I must understand the charges and how this video evidence relates to the charges being brought, whether it’s a civil or criminal litigation.

Oftentimes, I discover sections of the video evidence that the prosecutor or attorney has not considered with regard to the relevance to the litigation. Not only do I follow orders and respect what I have been asked to do, such as brighten the video so that we can see better if it was shot at night, or zoom in to see if we can determine what type of vehicle that was that drove by, or determine if we can sharpen and enlarge that portion of the video so that we can identify who that person is that committed that crime. All of these processes need to be documented in my work product as a video forensic expert in order to present my final enhanced or clarified video evidence in court. Oftentimes I’m asked to authenticate a video file. As part of the defense’s due process their client will tell them they believe the police have altered a video file. In my nearly 30 years of practicing as a video forensic expert I’ve only seen a couple different applications of videos being altered. Sure, it’s possible – but it’s also very unlikely because, when you think about it, why would an officer of the law risk their career, reputation and retirement and alter a piece of evidence intentionally in order to convict. It’s not logical, and it doesn’t make sense … but I have seen it happen and it is possible. So the authentication process is probably one of the primary activities that I perform as a video forensic expert. And as I’m authenticating the evidence and I understand what the case is about I discover other components to the video that can help in the litigation process. That is part of what I do as a video forensic expert.

The tools that are available to the forensic community today are much more advanced and can perform faster and more accurately than the tools that were used even a couple of years ago. So cases that have been tried and are on appeal can use new evidence as part of the appeal process, because, in my opinion, being able to increase the brightness on a section of video more accurately, or enlarge it with less pixilation and more clear imaging we have created a piece of evidence that was not available during the original trial. So in that particular case a video forensic expert can help with the appeal process. And I have worked for several appellate attorneys over the years. There is an ever-increasing amount of video evidence that is appearing in litigation today and the demand for a video forensic expert to be able to authenticate, validate, clarify and present, as well as prepare demonstrative sections of that evidence is extremely important. By demonstrative, I mean to slow down and enlarge a section of video evidence in order to be able to more clearly and accurately see the events as they occurred. Plus, by adding this demonstrative element to the video evidence it allows the judge and jury to more accurately see what previously wasn’t seen on the video recording.

How To Best Capture and Recreate the Accident for the Jury/Court

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

accident-reconstruction-1024x768 How To Best Capture and Recreate the Accident for the Jury/CourtHow To Best Capture and Recreate the Accident for the Jury/Court

After producing several accident reconstruction videos in my career as a video forensic expert, I have made observations about what works and what doesn’t work in the courtroom. I would like to share some tips with you so that you can avoid problems and best capture your external environment and bring it in to court.

Accident reconstruction video brings the accident site into the courtroom so the jury can see what the site looks like and how the accident occurred. Here are four tips to help you bring the best video into the courtroom:

1)      Try not to add demonstrative features to your video, like graphics or animation, without a reference point or an accurate scale. These demonstrative characteristics—especially animation—diminish the authenticity of the video footage.

2)      Shoot both wide shots and tight shots of the scene. When designing your shot sheet, make sure to include every angle and perspective so the judge and jury feel like they were actually there and actually witnessed the accident.

3)      Always record more footage than you will need for your accident recreation video presentation.

4)      Keep original source files with all original footage on them so the opposing counsel can examine and authenticate them.

I have had cases where the opposing counsel had video recorded that was not used in the accident reconstruction video on DVD. When the missing footage was discovered, it was detrimental to their case. In this situation, the accident reconstruction video worked against the opposing counsel.

Video Forensic Expert Edward J Primeau Curriculum Vitae

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