The City has released a higher-resolution, non-edited version of the February 23, 2014 video recording of Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson shoving journalist Joey Coleman.
By Ryan McGreal
Published November 30, 2015
On November 23, 2015, the City released a 15-second surveillance video of the February 26, 2014 incident in which Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson shoved journalist Joey Coleman in the lobby of the City Hall Council Chamber.
The video was widely criticized for starting and stopping abruptly without any surrounding footage for context, and debate erupted among witnesses to the incident as to whether the altercation continued past the end of the recording.
But there was another problem with the video: it had clearly been edited some time after it was recorded. The video file metadata indicated that the video was edited on June 19, 2015, around the time it was submitted to the Ontario Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) when Ferguson appealed its public release.
The video was also very low quality and there were panning and zooming effects that were not made by the original surveillance camera, which is stationary.
The City has now released another version of the video and claims that this is the original. You can watch the video here:
Hamilton Spectator columnist Andrew Dreschel reported today that a facility services supervisor with the City made a copy of the video using a cellphone camera and submitted that copy to the IPC Office.
There are some obvious differences between the two versions of the video:
This video has no panning or zooming - the perspective is stationary and the wider context, cropped out of the previously released video, is more clearly the public lobby of the City Hall Council Chamber.
This video is much higher in resolution. Individuals are much easier to identify visually.
The playback speed seems to be roughly twice normal speed. (It's only a matter of time until someone posts a copy with the Benny Hill "Yakety Sax" theme music playing over it.) On the YouTube video, you can click the little settings icon (the stylized cog near the bottom right corner of the video) and change the playback speed to watch it in slow-motion.
This version of the recording also has another important difference. In a news release issued as the video was being released on November 23, Ferguson accused Coleman of "trying to listen to a private conversation I was having with a staff member."
However, this version of the video makes it a lot more clear that Ferguson turned around and shoved Coleman as soon as Coleman walked up to City Communications manager Mike Kirkopoulos and former Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark. Coleman did not actually have time to drop any eaves before Ferguson turned on him.
And as Clark pointed out in an interview that was aired as part of a two-hour documentary called The Push, if someone wants to have a "private conversation", they should not have it in the public lobby of the seat of local democratic government.
Unfortunately, this version of the video still cuts off at the same spot, and the City is saying that it is unlikely anything beyond that point will be recoverable.
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