Gee, I’m glad we didn’t pay $800 for this…

I received the discs today provided by the city of Memphis in response to the FOIA request for MAS security camera footage from 7am to 7pm on April 10 and 11. Just as I did last time, I performed a spot check of the discs upon receipt. Unfortunately, there appear to be some significant problems.

For the April 10 discs:

  • 4 cameras are missing entirely. No footage, no discs, no explanation.
  • 1 camera contains just 1 hour and 4 minutes of footage instead of the 12 hours requested.
  • 1 camera contains a 20 minute gap in the middle of the day.

For the April 11 discs:

  • 4 cameras are missing entirely. No footage, no discs, no explanation.
  • 1 camera contains just 2 minutes of footage instead of the 12 hours requested.

Basically, it looks like we were shorted about half the requested video.  I hope the missing footage can be recovered. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem right to me. I’m not saying that the city intentionally defrauded us of our money or that the footage was edited by the city before they sent it to us. But I think it’s worth noting that the person tasked with copying this footage gets paid $50 an hour to do it. The person is obviously not some sleep-deprived teenager dropping by after school but more likely an expert in the field. And he/she spent more than 16 hours copying the discs so it’s not like it was a rush job.

I believe we deserve an explanation and considering the circumstances, “oops” isn’t going to cut it for me. The city needs to provide the missing footage promptly. Contact was made with the city attorney’s office this afternoon requesting an explanation. I will update this post if a response is received on Thursday.

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26 Comments

  1. Lisa in OH

     /  April 25, 2012

    You are more generous than I am. My first and only thought, they took creative liberty and the footage they selected is on the cutting room floor

    Reply
  2. Daniela

     /  April 25, 2012

    That 20 min gap makes me very suspicious – the rest could just be laziness/ineptitude. Is there a lawyer in the area that would be willing to help?

    Reply
  3. linda ouderkirk

     /  April 25, 2012

    are you really suprised footage is missing??? the way things are handled at MAS it was pretty much expected they would F it up.

    Reply
    • There were some discrepancies with the last batch of footage but that was 48 camera views and they had never done it before so I felt a little more generous last time. Plus those discrepancies were minor in comparison to HALF THE VIDEO being missing.

      I should re-iterate that this was discovered during my spot check. I haven’t reviewed all the discs in detail so additional discrepancies may arise.

      Reply
  4. The rot in this government goes way deeper than just their animal shelter, obviously.

    Reply
  5. Arlene

     /  April 25, 2012

    I say lawyer time! They know full well that it doesn’t take a genius to copy tapes. At $50 an hour they are expected to know what they are doing. I’m not willing to cut them any slack at all.

    Reply
  6. Bob

     /  April 25, 2012

    Their arrogance is amazing…. I won’t believe it is an error until it is rectified.

    Reply
  7. I’m not a bit surprised… go get’em Shirley…

    Reply
  8. Anyone old enough to remember the infamous 18-minute gap in the Nixon Tapes? It led directly to his downfall…

    Reply
  9. G. Gordon

     /  April 25, 2012

    Perhaps the City has hired Rose Mary Woods to copy the tapes.

    Reply
  10. Lisa in OH

     /  April 25, 2012

    Memphis news needs to do a little investigative reporting

    Reply
  11. $50 an hour to copy DVD’s? Is there a twelve year old in the country who doesn’t know how to do this? I’m unemployed, I’ll do it for $25, and that will still be twice as much as the skill is worth.

    Reply
  12. Lajuana

     /  April 25, 2012

    Completely unacceptable! Obviously, something has been tainted. Why be so secretive?? Memphis, what are you so ashamed of that you would not share with the public. You gave a price for an item requested, the price has been met, but you are not delivering????

    Reply
  13. mikken

     /  April 25, 2012

    Fifty dollars an hour. Sixteen hours. Gaps, missing footage, missing discs. What is this person’s name and where is the accountability?

    It may indeed be time for lawyers.

    Reply
  14. Lawyer time?

    Reply
  15. Ditto above….good grief, heck even $25 an hour, I’d do it for $15, and STILL do a better job of it. Its not hard to copy video, boring and time consuming, but not had, heck, you can even do other stuff in the gaps while you’re waiting for the computer to finish.

    That 20 minute gap is what gets me the most I think. The missing discs could be shear lazyness, or stupidity, but the 20 minute gap in the middle…..it does make you wonder just what happened in that 20 min that the person doing the copying didn’t want you to see.

    Reply
  16. db

     /  April 26, 2012

    There’s a good reason why you’re not getting what you paid for – there’s stuff they don’t want you to see.
    Time to find a lawyer – surely there are some around who have some integrity and will do what’s right for the animals who find themselves at MAS.
    And, yes, the rot goes all the way to the core!
    SHM – do they really think that you will accept (we will accept) this and whatever their excuse of the day is?
    Stupid and crooked – a deadly combination!

    Reply
    • I would love to hear any recommendations for such an attorney in Memphis, if anyone in the area happens to know one.

      Reply
      • sent you an email from my Gmail address with a suggestion, I gotta finish getting switched off gmail….

  17. KateH

     /  April 26, 2012

    “I’m not saying that the city intentionally defrauded us of our money or that the footage was edited by the city before they sent it to us.”

    Okay, since you’re nice enough not to say it, I will. What a bunch of lying, cheating, defrauding jerks.

    Reply
  18. Kim H

     /  April 26, 2012

    Couldn’t agree more with everyone so far. Clearly this is cover up. It’s simply not feasible that this was done in error, it’s far too specific.

    Is there not a federal body to escalate this to?

    Has the media been contacted with the original documents? I realize that Memphis media has come in here and there, but what about a national organization?

    Surely there is someone on the ground in Memphis who is willing to put in the necessary effort? Shirley, if a documented timeline could be put together with all supporting documents, we could use some of the FOIA money producing information packages to send out – to lawyers, politicians, the police – whoever is in a position to do something about this.

    They wouldn’t be expensive to print, but the more definitive proof of wrongdoing and illegal activities (which is exactly what this is) you can get out there to as many players as possible, the better. We put together 82 Page books to hand out here when we were overhauling our own animal control. Basically very detailed summary pages and then copies of all supporting documents.

    There IS someone out there willing and capable of acting on this – we just haven’t convinced them yet.

    Oh, and MAS – you DO realize these shenanigans do nothing to discourage us. They energize us, and just serve as further proof that MAS and those involved are getting worse, not better. We ARE coming after you, and these petty games you’re playing are only serving to convince more people to get on board.

    Reply
  19. mary francis

     /  April 26, 2012

    A lawsuit would hit them in the pocketbook and that’s all they seem to care about.

    Reply
  20. nokillhouston

     /  April 27, 2012

    All the missing footage makes it seem like the city has distroyed evidence/records. Check the public request statute in your state, but I think it would be against the law to destroy these records.

    Reply
  21. funisbest

     /  May 6, 2012

    I said it when the first FIOU whatever request was made & I’ll say it again: I don’t expect Memphis to deliver taped footage exposing the abuse going on at MAS or any wrong-doing.

    This is exactly what they will do to cover up, and it’s a criminal offence. Laywer time, Shirley. I’m sure a Chip-In for an attorney will be happily filled by readers & those seeking justice.

    Reply

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