CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Wilson Varela shooting: ‘Don’t share murder video’ plea

Warning that casual circulation of mobile phone footage is desensitising young people to violent crime

12 September, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Wilson Varela

SOCIAL media users are being urged not to share a video showing the aftermath of the fatal shooting in Kentish Town on Sunday night.

The mobile phone footage in which the gunshot victim is seen lying on the ground before emergency services arrive has been circulated online and in private message groups.

Campaigners warned of the distress it would cause relatives and, at a wider level, of the way the casual sharing and viewing of videos relating to violent crime risked leaving young people “desensitised” to the grave nature of what they are watching.

Terry Ellis, from Camden Against Violence, said: “I watched a guy being stabbed the other day on Twitter – he was stabbed three or four times. People are becoming desensitised, there’s no doubt about it.”

Mr Ellis, a reformed bank robber who helped found Camden branch of mentoring project A Band Of Brothers, said people need to realise “that’s someone’s son” in the video. “There’s a lot of stuff out there now. You go on any website and you can see it,” he said. “Kids are stabbing people, are putting it on Snapchat and then sending it to each other.”

Renee Horsford, from Camden Against Violence, said: “We feel it’s insensitive to share videos showing someone’s family or loved one in any distressing situation. We believe that these choices should be for the family and police to make.”

She added: “News reports on the incidents and information regarding catching the perpetrators are what I feel need to be concentrated on by the public.”

Labour councillor Abdul Hai, Camden’s cabinet member for young people and cohesion, said: “I understand there are videos showing the aftermath of the shooting on social media. I would urge people not to circulate videos on social media as this will cause discomfort and pain for the deceased’s family and friends, particularly while they are grieving.”

A blurred-out version of the clip had been uploaded to YouTube earlier this week.

The video-sharing site met anti-knife campaigners in May after a demonstration outside its offices about how users were able to publish self-made music videos which goaded relatives and friends of young murder victims in Camden and Islington.

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