As a society we expect the members of it to maintain a certain level of moral and legal behavior. Since public figures in our society have such high visibility when they do something wrong it tends to draw more attention. Because of this increased exposure, these people end up influencing what is considered normal behavior throughout our society more than the average Joe.
Sometimes these people are able to get away with criminal activity because of their increased influence. This may result in them getting lesser penalties for crimes then most members of our society would receive. Security camera video can provide the evidence to make sure that everyone is held accountable for their actions, regardless of their public image or resources. The incident with NFL running back Ray Rice and his then fiancé is prime example of this.
This successful running back was arrested in March of 2014 and charged with 3rd degree assault because of an altercation between him and the woman he planned to marry. These charges were the result of security camera footage that was posted on a public website which showed the couple arguing as they went into an elevator and then Rice dragging the unconscious woman out of the elevator a short time later. The charge carried a possible sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The NFL suspended Rice for the first two games of the season because of the incident, but the charges were later dropped after he agreed to attend court-supervised counseling.
In September of 2014, the security footage from another camera was made public. This camera was located inside the elevator and showed the missing part of the altercation. This video clearly showed that Rice struck his fiancée twice, the second time being hard enough on the side of the head to knock her face first into the hand railing. She wasn’t moving when she hit the ground and appeared to be unconscious. The video footage went on to show the muscular football player dragging her limp form out of the elevator and begin trying to sit her up.
Once this additional footage was released, the National Football League significantly increased Rice’s penalty. His team ended his contract and allowed fans to turn in his jersey for those of other players from the team. The NFL also increased his punishment from a two game suspension to an indefinite suspension. He lost over 10 million dollars in salary and endorsement deals as a result of the punishment that he received. Some people felt that the original punishment that he received after the first video surfaced was not severe enough but the more in-depth video helped to ensure that the disciplinary action was more fitting.
This was not the only recent case of security camera footage providing key evidence in a crime by a sports figure. New England Patriot’s tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested on weapon and murder charges on June 26th, 2013 after an acquaintance of his was shot 5 times on June 17th, and later found dead less than a mile from Hernandez’s home. There was already some evidence against him in this case but security camera video help the police to build a solid timeline in this murder.
-Video recorded by Hernandez’s own camera system showed him leaving his million dollar mansion at 1:12 am with a large caliber pistol in his hand.
– The security cameras at a nearby gas station recorded video of Hernandez driving a rented silver sedan while purchasing gas and a few other smaller items at 2:09 am. This gas station was along through route from Hernandez’s mansion and the victim’s residence.
– Around 2:30 am police surveillance cameras show that he picked up the victim from his home.
– At 3:23 am public security cameras showed the silver sedan pulling into an industrial park where the victim was killed. Witnesses later told police that they heard shots fired a short time later.
– At 3:33 am surveillance images showed Hernandez returning home with the same handgun in his possession.
The court case is still ongoing but the prosecution has been able to build a solid case largely in because of the comprehensive surveillance video showing many events during the night of the murder. Since this case began, Hernandez has also been implicated in the shooting death of two other men in July of 2012. Security camera footage is also a key component of the prosecution’s case against this previously successful football player. Hernandez was released from his team shortly after these cases began. These murder trials have cost the tight end a considerable amount of money in part because less than a year before the arrest, he signed a 5 year contract extension worth over 37.5 million dollars. When he was released from the team the contract became null and void.
The recorded footage from security cameras is helping to make sure that all types of people are held accountable for their actions. This pertains to all types of people which may have enough money or connections to influence the outcome of a court case, not just celebrities.
On September 11th, 2014 two homosexual males were viciously attacked around 10:45 PM on the streets of Philadelphia. Witnesses to the attack said that they heard angry slurs being hurled at the gay couple before and during the attack. One of the victims was beaten so badly that he was rushed to the hospital with a fracture orbital bone and had to have his jaw wired shut.
The police were able to locate security camera footage of the suspects just moments before the attack. Although witness testimony helped the investigators to confirm that the video showed the two males and a female who beat the couple, they were not able to get a positive identification of the three individuals. A short time later the video footage was posted online and several members of social media were able to identify both male suspects and the female who is the daughter of the local police chief.
A short time after the suspects were identified they began turning themselves into the police. They were charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, conspiracy and reckless endangerment.