I’m going into the archives of my mind today. I thought about this story, and figured it might offer some thoughts or lessons.

About ten years ago, we were redoing the flooring in my living room. Yes…it’s as annoying as it sounds. We ripped up the old carpet, and had mainly decent, if old parquet floors. Unfortunately, some of the flooring wasn’t great, so we needed to cover it. We didn’t have the ability to replace the floors, so we did a patch job: bought vinyl tiles to cover what was there.

to recap:

  1. remove old carpet, including staples
  2. clean existing floor
  3. replace with tile

Fine.

At some point I went to our basement to look for a box to put some remnants in so we could throw things out. When I went to the basement, I literally looked in the boxes that had collected there (people bring large garbage and boxes to the basement and staff takes care of it and throws it out on the appropriate days)

Two days later, our super approached me. He said that when someone was cleaning out the apartment of a relative that had passed, they mistakenly brought a plate down to the basement that they didn’t mean to throw out. He asked me to return the plate.

I didn’t take the plate.

I didn’t even see the plate.

Which I mentioned to the super.

The super responded with “But I saw you on video looking through the boxes.”

But did you see me take the plate? I asked.

No, but...”

I was guilty by association. I was in the right place, and it looked like I was rummaging for things. But I knew that I didn’t take the plate.

Does it matter that I was innocent?

Not really, because the super didn’t believe me. He saw what he believed to be evidence of me taking the plate. He even said to me:

I know it’s not stealing because things left down there are fair game

And there was no way I could actually prove my innocence. What annoyed me most is that because it was assumed I took it, they never put up a notice saying that something was left there by accident and if someone took it, please return it.

It doesn’t feel good to be guilty of something one didn’t do.

It’s also a good lesson that just because you “see” something doesn’t mean you actually “saw” it.

Video is great. Until it isn’t.

42 thoughts on “Video Evidence

  1. That is terrible. It’s awful that curiosity made you suspect, but even worse is the assumptions people make from viewing video. We see it all the time on social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are so many videos produced as a learning tool to prove that seeing things through one camera/video angle isn’t enough, and indeed can be extremely misleading. I guess your super hasn’t seen those. How horribly distressing for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Man oh man. This is exactly a lecture I have with my kids whenever they’re in a huff about what ‘actually’ happened.

    I had a traffic citation once for entering the crosswalk when the crossing guard was crossing. Problem was, I was surrounded by traffic and was already *in* the crosswalk when I heard whistle and saw the guard begin to cross into all of us.
    I felt so mis-accused and vilified; my God name and character were in question. So I went to court. .. where I learned, as you did, that truth doesn’t matter; if the person given authority says it happened then it did.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a hard time believing you were the only person “caught” on video seeing what was in the boxes. Did you ask to see the video? I’m so sorry you had to experience that false accusation.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That is crazy. It must feel like a cloud hanging over your head. It didn’t show up on the video that you took the plate, but you were there so you must have taken it???? He acknowledges it is not on the video, but still accuses you? “You can’t fix stupid!”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s got to be so frustrating to know you didn’t do something and not only to have someone claim otherwise, but make you feel even worse by suggesting “video evidence.” The assumption that because you were there makes you the culprit seems asinine. It would drive me crazy, because I’d feel like somehow I’d need to convince this person I wasn’t the one. I’d have a hard time letting it go…but I suppose that’s the best thing you can do. How crappy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be fair, they were cleaning out this woman’s apartment post death. She’d lived there for years, so I’m guessing a lot of crap. They were throwing things away and mistakenly took this thing downstairs…but, that’s what video is for…

      Liked by 1 person

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