There's a new TV show on WFMZ-TV.
"iCrime with Elizabeth Vargas" showcases crimes caught on camera. It airs weekdays at 11:30 a.m., right before 69 News at Noon.
69 News anchor Jaciel Cordoba talked with host Elizabeth Vargas, a journalist for more than 30 years, for more on what the show is all about.
"Let's talk a little about that about the show. We're living in times when cell phones capture all kinds of crimes. How will your new show highlight these videos?"
"Well, as you just said, everybody on Earth is walking around with one of these things (smart phone) it seems, and has the ability to capture crimes often or just extraordinary happenstances in real time. It's completely changed the landscape of newscasts and the way crimes in this country are prosecuted and people are brought to justice.
"You know, I think we both know from covering so many trials, I've been a journalist for more than 30 years now, that eyewitness testimony is actually incredibly unreliable. There's nothing more reliable than actual videotape of what happened. So we're doing a show where we're showing a lot of these extraordinary snippets of video capturing crimes as they happen, or incredible things. And then we're talking to lawyers and legal experts about what laws were broken about, what your rights are. We're talking to police about what you can do to keep yourself safe in a certain situation, how you should handle a certain situation, we talked to the victims that you're seeing in these videos, or the witnesses that you're seeing in these videos. So really bring the whole thing to life."
"And it's more than just showing good videos, as you alluded to, there's an educational piece to it. Talk about how it will kind of help us be better and know more about our rights."
"Well for example, you have every right to videotape or to record on your cell phone a video of a police officer, for example, making arrest. But you do not have the right to interfere in any way with that arrest, which might mean you might have to step back. We've talked to police officers and to lawyers about what your rights are. A couple of times we see in videos, police officers order somebody to stop recording, turn the camera off, but they do not have the right to do that. However, you don't have the right to in any way interfere with that arrest process.
"So you know, for example, you know the the George Floyd video which Derek Chauvin would never have been convicted of murder had it not been for that video, he initially lied in his report about what happened out on the street that day. The young woman who took that video very smartly stood back on a corner and rolled on the entire thing. She did everything legally and properly.
"Some of the videos that we'll show on this show show people not acting legally and properly, actually trying to interfere in an arrest. And that's a good way to get yourself arrested. That is not okay."
"Now, how are you able to track down people who record these videos, because you said you interview victims sometimes? Do you get these people by working with police?"
"We get these people sometimes from you know, the videos themselves. People post videos, and often of themselves or of people they know. In many cases, there is a police report attached to whatever the video shows, so we can call the police and get, you know, the lowdown on who was arrested, who was charged, what the charges are, we'll call the court system to find out what the adjudication is of those charges.
"You know, we have a whole team here making sure, number one, that these videos are truly accurate and real. In this day and age, there's a lot out there that's staged, there's a lot on the internet that isn't accurate and isn't real, as I tell my two teenage sons all the time. So we check and make sure these videos are in fact what they purport to be, and that the people in them are.
"Then we contact them and they'll tell us what happened there, what they saw and what they experienced. And we'll also give really important advice for everything from you know, we have a retired Air Marshal who talks to us about you know, there's a lot of airplane rage videos going out there right now, what are your rights on an airplane when somebody starts to act out? What should you do? How do you keep yourself safe? And some of the answers are actually surprising.
"So I think that we're not only showing authentic moments of crisis. In many cases, we're also giving our viewers information on how to protect themselves, how to protect others, and how to make sure in some cases, justice is served."