Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Code Duello, Troglodyte Style

The videos available at this Huffington Post site nearly defy description by rational humans. The headline for the post is: "Girls' Fight Ends With Shovel to the Head." True to the headline, an 8 second video clip is shown where a girl gets a shovel to the head.  It looks like a classic case of civil battery.  But the 8 second clip is an outtake from an 8 minute video, also shown, where these two fine examples of American youth conspire to engage in a duel of fisticuffs while their earnest "seconds" stand outside the circle videotaping the exhibition for sharing on the internet.  The longer video has been taken down from youtube but is still available on the Huffington Post site. The longer video raises questions of consent that may provide a defense to a battery claim. How far does the consent go?  Does agreement to a duel with fisticuffs include use of a weapon? (one of the "seconds" even makes a similar query on tape).   It appears that the shovel wielder was earlier surprised when she was kicked by the shovel-to-the-head victim.  Did the kicking escalate the level of consent beyond the implied agreement upon fisticuffs?

What do these videos teach about the use of videos in court?  The 8 second video and the 8 minute video tell very different stories. Does the comparison of the two videos give support to the concerns expressed by law enforcement officers when they are videotaped - that the video shown or taken may not accurately portray the context of what is shown?

Warning! There is saucy language in the longer video!  As you might imagine, the verbal discourse between these aspiring Rhodes scholars and their friends may not be suitable for a classroom.  But, the language does impact upon the issues.

 UPDATE: The 8 second video has been removed from the Huff Post site, but click here to see a re-posting at vine.

Click here or on the image below to be taken to the Huffington Post report: