Live stream of dying man was effort to show plight of Winnipeg's North End, says resident
Woman says she's sorry to victim's family, was just trying to show reality of her neighbourhood
A Winnipeg woman who went live on Facebook while paramedics tried to resuscitate a dying man says she's sorry for upsetting the victim's family.
Lisa DeLaronde said she only wanted to show the realities of her North End Winnipeg neighbourhood.
She started the live stream Sunday evening after hearing police cars swarm the streets close to her home.
- Crowd gathers at vigil for Winnipeg dad killed in Father's Day slaying
- Homicide victim's family shocked by Facebook live videos
DeLaronde and a man ran to the corner of Pritchard Avenue where police and paramedics had surrounded a home. They joined a small crowd that had gathered to find out what was going on.
From there, she went live again with a series of videos in which paramedics can be seen trying to resuscitate a man lying on the sidewalk. Family members have since identified the man as William Sumner, a 27-year-old father of three.
Doreen Sumner told CBC her nephew was shot three times and that his family learned about the slaying when someone posted a RIP message on his Facebook wall.
Family members say they were horrified to learn about the death that way.
DeLaronde deleted the videos when she heard how upset the family was.
"I apologize to the family and I'm sorry that you had to find out this way," she said.
DeLaronde was at a vigil for Sumner on Monday night and live streamed it on her personal Facebook account, calling it "Neechi News."
She calls it an outlet to show the day-to-day realities of her North End neighbourhood, which she said is filled with crime and a worsening drug problem.
"I'm, like, witnessing people stopping and dying in the middle of the street," she said.
Police spokesman Const. Rob Carver said in these days of everything being posted to social media, people must find a balance between bringing needed attention to issues while making sure not to revictimize people.
"It's the people we're dealing with that I think really should be afforded some privacy, but it comes down to social norms — what's appropriate and what isn't — and is that what you really want to be doing as the person with the video," he said.
"It's a lens into personal tragedy and I think whenever someone is using social media to bring attention to something, they need to be aware of the fact that it's not always the decision … of the people who are involved to have that done."
Children exposed to tragedy on streets
DeLaronde said a lot of crime in the area goes unreported to police and she worries about the safety of kids in the neighbourhood.
She pointed out that when Sumner died it was just after 6 p.m. on a Sunday evening and kids were around, playing and riding their bikes.
One boy on a bicycle stopped at the vigil to ask a CBC journalist if someone had died.
That's the reality DeLaronde said she's trying to shine a light on with her live videos.
"Just bring awareness to what's happening in our community and what our kids have to witness," she said.
"There were lots of kids out on the street when it went on."
'Raises ethical questions'
Jenna Jacobson is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto who studies the way digital technologies affect society. She said the use of live videos raises ethical questions for the individuals who are bearing witness to events.
"These social media videos provide the audience a way of being there and providing real-time information, which can be really important," Jacobson said. "These videos can be used as evidence or to hold someone accountable for their actions, such an abuse of power."
However, in the case of Sumner's death and his family finding out online, Jacobson says the live-feed tool comes with negative consequences.
"What could be more devastating than watching a loved one go through that pain and have such a devastating result in the end? Social media is really just a tool and it's up to each individual person to figure out how to make use of the tools and technology," Jacobson said.
On some social-media platforms, Jacobson says it's unclear what is acceptable content and what isn't. After recent events where devastating videos have been shared thousands of times, Jacobson questions whether it's time for government to step in.
"There is government policies that could be implemented for this type of thing but that would be very complicated and that would raise a whole set of other questions of freedom of speech, [so] I don't think we can anticipate that anytime soon," she said.