Use Your Smartphone, Dummy

I’m sure by now  you’ve heard that technology is evil and is sure to be the cause of our down fall. Cellphones are destroying our sense of self and our way of life as we know it! With all our Facebooking, our YouTubing and our incessant finger-talking it’s a miracle any of us still know what the real world is.

But there is a lot of good cellphones can do as well.

On Tuesday Jan. 20 Jennifer De Costa was assaulted while riding a TTC bus near Don Mills Rd. and Lawrence Ave. While on the 54 Lawrence bus around 6 a.m. De Costa crossed paths crossed paths with another woman. De Costa wanted to sit next to the woman but the woman refused. When De Costa pressed on the matter, the situation worsened. The women exchanged glares and un-pleasantries but after some arguing, De Costa settled to sit in another seat.

While she sat in her seat, she remembered Toronto’s very own internet-famous meme, the TTC Leprechaun. And as Juan Hodem did, De Costa captured an image of the uncooperative passenger with her cell phone. But unlike the incident Hodem captured, De Costa’s incident only got worse. On her way off the bus, the woman who denied De Costa a seat bumped into her. This lead into a physical altercation between the two which left De Costa with a cut  on the side of her head. She also took a picture of cut and the resulting damage.

De Costa uploaded both pictures from the incident on to her Facebook account and explained the details. Friends of De Costa commented that they had seen the woman from the picture and 10 days later the police had identified her. According to De Costa, charges and a court date have been set.

This is not the only time someone has used photo or video taken with a cell phone and used it as evidence. On Feb. 17 a video emerged of a group of Chelsea Football Club supporters denying a black man entry to a train in Paris before taunting him with a racist chant.  A French journalist found the video, tracked down the man in the video, identified as Souleyman S., and now Souleyman has filed a formal complaint with the Parisian police. The seven men in the video have now all been identified and face a possible three-year sentence as well as a hefty fine.

“I didn’t know I was filmed. The fact that I’m talking about it now gives me courage to go to the police and file a complaint.” Souleyman said in an interview with the BBC. He said he would have kept the altercation to himself if not for the video.

Too many times videos like these end up in the wrong places. They end up on YouTube and on WorldStar (in the video someone actually calls out “WorldStar”) and serve as nothing but cheap entertainment. What good does it do for the people in the videos if their footage is never reported? These pictures and these videos are only useful when they are used as information and evidence (See here, here and here). They offer physical proof to back up the claims of a victim and increase the likelihood of justice being served.

Ideally, anyways… 

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