27 Seconds

By | October 15, 2020

The Gracia family’s lawyer, Don Brisson, finished a series of presentations last week on Malcolm’s murder. Brisson spent considerable time discussing inconsistencies in detectives’ testimony and forensic evidence collected at the crime scene.

Among the more shocking pieces of evidence Brisson released were videos that had been withheld from the public until December 2018. Three videos captured events of the evening of May 17th, 2012. One is high resolution surveillance footage from the Temple Landing basketball court. This is what Detective Safioleas would have been watching from Rockdale Ave. police headquarters. The other two are residential CCVT camera footage from Middle and Ash streets displayed side-by-side.

What is striking is the sheer speed with which New Bedford Police murdered Malcolm Gracia.

At 8:36 Malcom is seen leaving the Temple Landing basketball court. He walks down Middle and turns left on Cedar Street. Eleven seconds later New Bedford police speed around the same corner. 27 seconds after that a camera records neighbors and children out skateboarding scattering as Malcolm is apparently shot out of sight of the cameras.

The 27 seconds it took police to kill Malcolm Gracia is never questioned as investigators simply accept detectives’ accounts of a much more professional, by-the-book, and leisurely encounter.

If you watch the videos, it’s clear that police accounts were not truthful.

Video #1: the elaborate handshake

This is the surveillance footage from the Temple Landing basketball court which shows Malcolm Gracia interacting with other observers at pick-me-up basketball games.

The Gang Unit’s surveillance camera, which recorded the correct date, was about 24 minutes, 51 seconds fast. For reference it was best to use seconds into the video instead of erroneous time stamps on it.

At about 413 seconds into the video (estimated to be 8:28:55 PM) the surveillance camera first picks up Malcolm Gracia and Adam Carreira. At about 520 seconds we see Gracia wearing black pants and a black hoodie, smiling and shaking hands with a spectator seated in the bleachers of the basketball court farthest from Cedar Street. This is the handshake that sets a police murder in motion. Sgt. Brian Safioleas, who has been watching Adam Carreira’s cigarette, switches to Gracia for a minute, and zooms in on Carreira’s cigarette again as he passes it to Gracia. Viewing the video now it appears Safioleas’s interest was what the boys were smoking. At about 585 seconds Safioleas zooms out to the entire bleacher and zooms back in to put Gracia entirely in the frame of the camera. Gracia is a bit more reserved than Carreira. But he is smiling, talking to a spectator in a striped shirt, and having a smoke. At about 880 seconds spectators start getting up out of the bleachers and are preparing to leave. By my calculations the actual time is around 8:28 PM. By 900 seconds into the video the spectators are leaving and all are shaking hands as they leave. At about 936 seconds Gracia says something to Carreira and both exit the camera frame. It is only a few footsteps to the Middle Street entrance and a residential CCVT camera records them leaving. The estimated time is roughly 8:36:19 PM.

It is interesting that the camera stops following Gracia and Carreira at this point and remains directed at the remaining spectators and ball players until everyone has left the frame. Of course, Safioleas could now be scrambling to dispatch Fonseca, Sylvia, Barnes and Brown and may have simply left the camera unattended. But wasn’t Safioleas concerned about the direction they were headed? The camera keeps recording a static image of the bleachers until 1310 seconds, when it then pans north across both basketball courts to show at least four police cruisers and an ambulance. The video runs another 500 seconds, zooming into the corner of Cedar and Middle where officers are stringing crime scene tape and residents — later described as a “mob” by the EMS technician who first treats Barnes — stand around watching the aftermath of another police shooting.

Video #2: police chase Gracia around the corner

The second video displays synchronized footage from two different Housing Authority cameras. One camera captures officers arriving on the scene. Another shows Malcolm leaving the courts and turning the corner of Middle and Cedar. Seconds later police do the same.

The camera which provided the footage in the left frame is most likely housed in a street lamp in front of 347 Middle Street and looks southeast down Middle Street toward Cedar Street and toward the entrance of the basketball courts. The camera which provided footage in the right frame is likely in a walkway behind 263 Ash Street. It looks northeast, down Ash Street, through the climbing structures and swing sets, past the basketball courts to the corner of Middle and Cedar. Unfortunately, both video quality and lighting are poor and, owing to the distance, distorted like telephoto photos. Both frames in the one video are time-stamped but do not record seconds.

At 8:36 PM — 27 seconds into the composite video — you can see Malcolm Gracia leaving the courts with Adam Carreira. His pointed hoodie is clearly visible as he makes his way down Middle Street and at 63 seconds the two turn the corner to Cedar. At this precise moment you can see Sylvia and Fonseca’s cruiser in camera two’s frame on the right. Fonseca, the driver, has driven past Middle Street in error, and is seen backing up onto Elm Street near the white rock at the intersection. The children’s playground on Ash Street is clearly visible in front of him. At 8:37 PM — 68 seconds into the video — Fonseca turns left and races back down Middle Street.

At 8:37 PM on camera one — at 71 seconds — you see Fonseca and Sylvia speeding down Middle Street. An unidentified silver vehicle just beats them to the intersection and precedes them as they turn onto Cedar at 74 seconds into the video. At 103 seconds another vehicle comes up Cedar. At 110 seconds — 27 seconds after the police turn onto Cedar — camera one picks up residents scattering and running. Fonseca and Sylvia have probably just fired the last of six shots caught by Shotspotter. This would make the time 8:37:42 PM. At 194 seconds into the video residents start running toward the corner of Middle and Cedar to see what’s happening. Police cars begin arriving at 225 seconds.

Timeline

Video Time Action
08:28:55 PM Gracia Shaking hands
16 08:36:08 PM Gracia and Carreira leave basketball court
27 08:36:19 PM Gracia seen exiting court from Middle St.
63 08:36:55 PM Gracia turns corner onto Cedar
74 08:37:06 PM Fonseca and Sylvia turn corner onto Cedar
110 08:37:42 PM Residents scatter in alarm **
194 08:39:06 PM Residents run toward intersection
225 08:39:37 PM Police cruisers arrive

** estimated from Shotspotter records and video of residents reacting to sounds of shooting