Monday, September 14, 2009

Bryant & Sheppard: Security video on YouTube

There is a video on YouTube of the security video captured of the Bryant / Sheppard incident.

The footage is actually posted by someone filming his television and is not very good. The poster is also obviously biased toward the Sheppard side and gets many facts wrong when he annotates the video. However it does give is an opportunity to see some of the detail ourselves.
If you want to see it, take a look now because it's actually in violation of YouTunes terms of service (for copyright violation) and may get taken down shortly.

Here is my analyses of what I can see. I'm purposely ignoring the incorrect and biased annotations in the video. Note, there are two angles captured here.

First camera angle:
Time index 0:01
- Bryant is stopped at a red light in the left most lane (the lane closest to the oncoming traffic).
Time index 0:02
- Sheppard enters frame behind Bryant.
Time index 0:04
- Byrant begines to accelerate as the light turns green.
- Sheppard has crossed the median and is passing Bryant on his left
- Sheppard has covered approximately 10 meters in 2 seconds (about 18kmh)
Time index 0:05
- Sheppard enters Bryant's peripheral vision
- Bryant begins to break suddenly as Sheppard starts to cut in front of him.
Time index 0:06
- Bryant's car has stopped again.
- Sheppard has pulled to the right, cutting in front of Bryant.
Time index 0:07
- For some reason, Sheppard stops in front of Bryant at the green light. He does not appear to be turning left because he is not signalling a turn and would also be out of frame in the intersection.
Time index 0:10
- Sheppard is still sitting at the green light, and turns around to say something to Bryant.
* assumption: they are yelling at each other.
Time index 0:11
- Bryant jerks forward, and closes on Sheppard's back tire. Sheppard does not move and it doesn't appear that Bryant hits Sheppard's back tire as there is no movement from the bike or Sheppard, which there would be if he had been hit even a small amount.
Time index 0:12
- First car going east bound (opposite direction) is seen at bottom right of frame. This supports the time index and Bryant's first aborted movement based on how long it takes a car to move through an intersection.
- Sheppard gets off his bike, leaving it in the intersection.
Time index 0:15
- Sheppard has walked back and is parallel to Bryant's hood (just past the headlights).
* opinion: I can't see it well, but it looks like Sheppard hits the car with something.
Time index 0:17
- Bryant attempts to extricate himself and begins to accelerate. We can see from another video appended to this video (but from another angle) that he turns the car to the right in order to go around the bicycle on the road.
- We see Sheppard "move" here, but we can't see why. He is ether pushed aside by the car or is jumping on the hood which he then falls off of.

Second camera angle:
Time index 0:19
- Bryant attempts to extricate himself by moving through the intersection, but hits the bicycle which is on the road in front of his bumper where he can't see it.
Time index 0:20
- Bryant stops his car again.
- Sheppard is still on his left, standing on the median.
Time index 0:24
- Bryant backs up to clear the bicycle.
Time index 0:27
- Bryant turns to the right to go around the bicycle on the road.
Time index 0:28
- It's hard to see and i can't be sure, but it looks as if Sheppard moves toward the car as it goes by in the right hand lane (implying that he is still standing).

At this point the the security camera footage ends. Sheppards death is actually later and is not covered by this footage. It is reported that Sheppard then chased after Bryant's car and somehow hung on to the drivers side.

In my opinion based on what I can see in the video, Bryant could not see the bicycle in the road when he hit it and it was likely because Sheppard was angry over his bike being damaged by the car (the bike he left laying in the road in front of Bryant's bumper) that he chased after Bryant.
Bryant may have been able to see the bike and ran it over on purpose, but we can't actually tell from this video. It's more likely that in his haste to get away from the situation and because he couldn't see it, he forgot that Sheppard had left it there. No driver wants their car damaged and running over a bike is likely to do damage.
We can also tell that Sheppard was not on the bike when it was first hit by the car.

It's pretty clear that Sheppard was the aggressor here, there is no doubt about it.

It bothers me that some folks feel a need to bend visual evidence to fit their political agenda in such blatant and obvious ways. In fact it's those folks screaming about murder that have prompted me to write anything about this at all.

I want to ensure that bikes can use the roads safely. I demand it because my children will eventually be using them. Automatically blaming Bryant for this tragedy does not help make the roads safer and in fact is detrimental to doing so.


Sean Chambers said...

Is this meant to be parody? You can't be serious.

Allan Sorensen said...

What a strange, strange interpretation.

Brill Pappin said...

Nope, I went through it frame by frame and wrote down what I saw... However it is a pretty crappy video. Some one has pointed me at what I hope is a better copy and o can revise that timeline.

Someone has pointed out that they think sheppard didn't get off the bike and Bryant actally hit him, so hopefully a better video will show that.

Like I said, I'm not interested in the political side, I want to know what actally happened for what lessons can be taken away from it. Bryant will or will not be charged based on a reasonable (if not perfect) justice system, howeer it preatty clear that if sheppard had been flowing the rules of the road and respected other users of the road, he would not now be dead.

Unknown said...

"It bothers me that some folks feel a need to bend visual evidence to fit their political agenda in such blatant and obvious ways"

It bothers me too. Shame on you.

Unknown said...

Just curious but are you watching the video on an iphone or a blackberry? Maybe a netbook?

I only ask because you are definitely CLAIMING to see something that just isn't there.

It would be far easier to believe you are objective if your comments of almost two weeks ago didn't appear on your blog. Nice try.

See you later jfbp

Brill Pappin said...


So far, that is really what I can see going over it frame by frame literally. Going back and forth over it when it didn't seem clear.

Admittedly, what I was able to see so far was from a very inferior source... I hope to review something with more definition and at that time I can adjust the timeline.

Have you analyzed it with any detail at all, or have you simply accepted what others are saying?
I don't simply accept it.... I actually took the time to dissect what I thought I was seeing. I may be wrong on some points (in fact it's quite likely due to poor quality video), but I also have studied what I was able to get so far long enough to know that most people haven't bothered at all, and are not interested in finding out what really happened.

I'm more interested in what can be learned from the incident than wether Bryant is charged with murder or not or wether Sheppard was a saint in a bike curriers clothing.

I would like to invite you, and anyone else reading this, to give me a list of points that you think are wrong or incorrect, so that I can focus on those points if and when I get better quality video.

We all have opinions and points to make no matter how hard we try to stay neutral, however my goals are not to exonerate Bryant or vilify Sheppard or visa versa... if one or the other occurs in the process of reaching my own goal (more along the lines of evidence toward safe road use for both cyclists and cars) then so be it, wether you like it or not.

Brill Pappin said...


nice... did you think I was hiding?

I notice you didn't leave any indication of who you are.

Brill Pappin said...


Oh, I'm not objective. Not in the least nor do I claim objectivity in any way.

However. I am interested in what happened and how it happened because it does align with my own agenda.

Unknown said...

You haven't been objective since day one my friend. Why start now?

Objective. Fantasy. Are they the same thing to you, because there is no way anyone I have shown the video to sees anything like you have stated.

Yes I have analyzed it and so far over 80 people have all seen the same thing. One Bryant supporter refused to watch it. Maybe he's seen it before.

Of those 80 at least 75% were of the opinion that Bryant was probably a victim or stated that Bryant was attacked by a drunk. Well they were BEFORE they watched. After watching all 80 think Bryant ran him down on purpose. So do you really think you could sell 80 plus people on your interpretation? Take it to work tomorrow and try it.

Maybe you should flush your cache and take another look before you make a fool of yourself.

Brill Pappin said...


Ahh, you must be liberalrefugee from YouTube?
I havn't had time to take a look at the better video you sent me yet.

Anyway, I don't think you've been reading the comments.

1) I just said I wasn't being objective and wasn't trying to be.

2) I actually stated that I wasn't sure of everything, and invited folks to list some of the points they thing I got wrong so I can take a closer look.

3) I very much doubt every one of those 80 people actually went through it frame by frame and it all happens very quickly. Where exactly did this "view the video" party take place?

4) I'm not saying Bryant didn't "run him down on purpose" I'm saying I can't actually see that in those video's and it looks like something else to me if anything. I'm hoping the better quality video will give more detail.

5) I'm not afraid to show it to others and point out what I'm seeing, which I've attempted to do.

As I keep saying, and I quote myself:
"I'm more interested in what can be learned from the incident than wether Bryant is charged with murder or not or wether Sheppard was a saint in a bike curriers clothing".

Every time I have not blindly accepted what someone else is telling me, and when I point out the obvious errors in their statements, I get jumped on as if I've just peed in their cornflakes. There is nothing to learn from that.

I would be very happy to have a counterpoint person who is actually willing to listen and to talk and who's mind is as mutable as my own. Are you willing to volunteer? If so, I suggest we actually meet up and view this thing together. We can then write it up.

Unknown said...

"If so, I suggest we actually meet up and view this thing together. We can then write it up"

I'll pass as you have yet to convince me that you have convinced anyone.

When I start seeing people who HAVE watched the video agreeing with your synopsis then maybe we can talk.

Brill Pappin said...


I'm not surprised, mostly people don't want to to have to revisit something once their mind is made up.

I managed to check out the video URI you sent as well... it has much better detail and corroborates a lot of what I've said and adds some new information (at one point it looks like Sheppard even throws his bike at the car).
I'll have to go over my timeline a bit to sort fact from fiction and adjust accordingly.

After seeing that, I don't think I believe your 80 people statement though... there is no way that all 80 people you claim could have missed so much or misconstrued so much -- you would really have to not be paying attention.

Sean Chambers said...

My objection to your analysis concerns mainly your characterization of Bryant's actions as attempts to "extricate" himself. I also find it appalling that, based on what you see, you conclude Sheppard is the aggressor.

Even if Bryant's intent was to escape the situation, that does not entitle him to ram the cyclist, nor does it entitle him to attempt to flee the scene after doing so -- the tone of your commentary suggests that it does.

The video is brief, and does not show what happened leading up to the collision; I wouldn't be surprised if there had been some prior encounter, and Sheppard was deliberately blocking Bryant out of anger.

But again, even if Sheppard was yelling at Bryant, this does not excuse what occurs at 0:17.

To characterize Sheppard as the aggressor ("no doubt about it") and Bryant as the victim trying to "extricate" himself strikes me as some sort of willful blindness to the reality of the situation.

The fact is that Bryant was in car and Sheppard was on a bicycle, and Bryant used his car as a weapon against Sheppard. Sheppard, perhaps, provoked Bryant with words; but Bryant responded in an entirely disproportionate way, by using his 3000lbs box of steel and glass to bludgeon Sheppard, ultimately leading to his death.

To call Sheppard the aggressor is laughable. If an adult strikes an infant because the infant is provoking him, I suppose the infant is the aggressor too?

Brill Pappin said...


Thanks for that. It is actually appreciated.

Ok, based on what your saying there is a possible issue with the timeline where Bryant's car moves forward the 3rd time when it appears he rams Sheppard for a good 5-10 feet.

I will look at that section again and try to determine exactly where Sheppard was in relation to the car. I may well be wrong and it does warrant more attention. If it shows Sheppard to the left of the car when it starts to move, then it's not ramming, if he is in front of it, then it is.

There was a better copy of that specific clip that showed a much clearer images. In it, I *thought* i could see Sheppard standing still and to the left as Bryant started to move, for at least the length of the hood on that car (2 or 3 feet?). However the video has been removed from the net (odd, but every time I find a high def copy, it gets removed) and i'll have to find another source.

- my characterizations
"The video is brief, and does not show what happened leading up to the collision; I wouldn't be surprised if there had been some prior encounter, and Sheppard was deliberately blocking Bryant out of anger."

I would agree with you there, we're missing a lot of context... I think that there must have been because it's just not how two people normally behave on the streets of Toronto (of which I am glad as both a driver and a cyclist). However, that is aggression if it's a correct assumption.

I would concede the point that we don't know if Bryant was "trying to extricate himself" he may very well have not been -- however it is very clear that Sheppard was being aggressive right from the first moment of the clip when he cuts in front of Bryant... I can't really see it any other way. At the very least, he is guilty of aggressive and dangerous road use (and no, i don't think the punishment for that should be death). It's harder to tell if Bryant is also being aggressive because he is seated in the car and doesn't move around.
If they actually did have a previous altercation down the road, then Sheppard must have been trying to catch up to Bryant -- in that case he is not simply being a bad road user, he is actually in the throws of road rage. Don't forget that at any time, Sheppard could have moved away from the car, and in fact would have done in a normal situation.

- comparison of weapons
The mode of transport of each party is not a linear indication of their aggressiveness, responsibility or ability to do damage. A bike would actually make an easier weapon to wield than a car... a knife to a club etc. so I don't think you can automatically assume that the guy in the car was out to get the guy on the bike and the guy with the bike had no chance.

Unknown said...

"I'm not surprised, mostly people don't want to to have to revisit something once their mind is made up"

Not at all. I thought that as much as I dislike Bryant he may have been a victim. Then I saw the video and I changed my mind. Brill you know you are wrong.

Sheppard was directly in the centre of the car not of to the left as you claim and spare me the

"I may well be wrong and it does warrant more attention"

It requires no more attention than using your eyes and that is why I stand by my statement of 80 people all in agreement that Bryant appears to purposefully run down Sheppard. No judgments or statements on what may have happened earlier, who may have done what only that Bryant ran Sheppard down and then tried to leave.

Have you found ONE to agree with your claims? ONE. C'mon Brill have ten people watch it with you. Ask them if they see what you see. Ask them if they see what I see.

Post the results. Can you do that? Ten people. Can you do that? C;mon Brill .

Sean Chambers said...

The fact is we don't know what happened leading up to the events caught on video, and absent this information, any commentary on who was the aggressor and who was the innocent party trying to disengage is speculation.

For example, as you say, it's conceivable that there was an earlier collision between the two. Maybe Sheppard caught up with Bryant and blocked him in order to prevent him from leaving.

Would you really characterize that as aggression? Or road rage? I wouldn't. Blocking a car seems passive to me -- especially compared to what you sometimes see on the streets (I've witnessed angry cyclists pick up their bikes and bang them off the hoods of cars, etc.).

But again, the truth is we just don't know. All we know is what the video demonstrates: that Sheppard was stopped in front of Bryant with a few feet of space between them; that Bryant crept closer with his vehicle while Sheppard remained stationary; that Bryant then suddenly accelerated and struck Sheppard causing him to fall off his bicycle; and that Bryant then attempted to drive around Sheppard and carry on.

Short of Sheppard having a gun pointed at Bryant while they were stopped, I don't know what could excuse that. Nor do I know how a viewer could characterize the collision as anything but a deliberate attempt by Bryant to injure Sheppard.

Brill Pappin said...

Seems to me the basis of the disagreement is if Bryant purposely rammed Sheppard. Most people say Sheppard was in front of the car, and I (for one) think it looks like he's to the left of the car. Sheppard's position matters a great deal obviously, because it demonstrates intent or not on Bryant's part.
Ramming the guy however does not make Bryant a murderer, which is the claim I keep hearing.

One of us will have to eat crow on this. I'm not positive it wont be me, but I'm fairly sure. All we need is a good quality version of the video (the CityTV clip is no longer available it seems). Do you know where a good quality version can be found?

Though we don't know what happened before that point, at least not with video evidence, the definition of aggression fits what we do see on both their parts. Like I said, Sheppard could have walked away at any time while Bryant could not.
"I've witnessed angry cyclists pick up their bikes and bang them off the hoods of cars, etc"
In fact there is a point in the second camera angle when it looks like Sheppard actually did that, but without proof I can show you, I wouldn't claim it.

IMO - this case aside, picking up your bike and hitting someones car with it is inexcusable, purposeful violence. The perpetrator should be arrested for assault... but wait, the bikes are untraceable.

Unknown said...

Get a google cached copy here. Why don't you download a copy? I'm surprised you didn't do so already.

I have no problem providing the video as it shows what it shows. Don't bother telling me that a 'witness statement' contradicted the video as I know that and I will believe my eyes over a witness. As noted on you tube two witnesses contradicted each other but after witnessing what they saw I think we can cut them some slack.

Any luck convincing one other person of what you claim?

So there you are, the video you requested. Download it.

As far as eating crow is concerned if you are willing to wager $50 or $100 I'll do the same. My claim is that the court will find that Michael Bryant ran Darcy down with intent. That's the argument. Not a conviction on manslaughter but that Bryant ran him down and it was not an accident.

If you are willing to do so you name your charity and I'll name mine. Loser donates to the other's charity and emails a copy of the receipt. You didn't think I would take the cash personally did you?

Brill Pappin said...


I'll take that wager, on condition:
1) that we know who you are (you know who I am after all).
2) that instead of a charity of choice, the loser pays the others membership for one year to Toronto Cyclists Union (
3) that it's legal for us to make a wager like this at all in Ontario, which I don't know at this time.

The wager is:
"the court will find that Michael Bryant ran Darcy down with intent. That's the argument. Not a conviction on manslaughter but that Bryant ran him down and it was not an accident."

There are a lot of factors that can cause it to swing ether way depending on how things work out, so unless you have inside information on how the two sides are talking (which I'm expecting you to show that you do not) then I think it's a fair wager.