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Officer's Perceived Threat from Driver of Stolen Car

Laser ScanningOis ReconstructionLaser Based PhotogrammetryVideo Analysis

Late one evening in downtown Los Angeles, CA, local patrol officers prepared to corner a stolen Honda Civic in traffic. One vehicle pulled over in front of the Civic while the other blocked the rear. In a frightened response, the driver, Mr. Baker, reversed into the rear-bound police vehicle. Half a second after this contact, the front-bound police officer opened fire on the driver, rapidly shooting three bullets. This left Mr. Baker significantly injured and nearly killed him.

The firing officer stated that the driver sped towards him after impacting the rear-bound vehicle, and fearing for his safety, shot in self-defense. The driver was charged with assault with a deadly weapon following the incident. Mr. Baker claimed he made no effort to drive towards the front-bound officer, stating he backed up because he initially believed carjackers were trying to steal his vehicle.

Facing serious criminal charges, Mr. Baker's legal team brought 3D Forensic on to deliver a full digital reconstruction and contextual analysis with nearby traffic footage that captured the incident.


  • Analyze security footage of the incident
  • Measure the true distances between the officer and the vehicle throughout the incident


  • Use laser-based photogrammetry to verify the positions and distances of the car and officers throughout the incident recording
  • Present a subjective analysis highlighting significant measurements

The team's work began with laser-scanning the incident area. These scans would provide a digital environment based on true 3D measurements, allowing the team to camera-match the positions of the vehicles and officers. After creating models based on true sizes of the officers and vehicles, they were inserted into the environment, ready to match the positions seen on film.

The team then analyzed the security footage frame-by-frame, matching the positions of the vehicle and officer models to what was seen on film. Once completed, this analysis would yield an animation that could show better objective angles with true measurements.

Lead Forensic Expert Jason Fries analyzed the timing and positions of the officers to assert when and where they could have perceived a threat. After mapping out where the firing officer would have been when he perceived the threat, the team focused on the potential turn radius of the vehicle.

The team digitally measured over two feet of space between the officer and the left side of the Civic’s hood when the officer decided to shoot. It was not immediately clear if the car could have possibly run him over at this point, so they acquired an exemplar model of the Civic and tested its potential turn radius.

The team was able to prove that this vehicle couldn’t turn at a radius that would touch the officer, therefore it couldn't have posed a fatal threat in this situation. They also determined the car’s only possible movement towards the officer would have been from rebounding off the rear-bound vehicle. With this in mind, they found it would have been impossible for the driver to turn the wheels towards the officer, shift out of reverse, and accelerate towards him within the timeframe the officer testified to.


Knowing the Civic didn’t pose a true threat to the officer gave Mr. Baker’s legal team the concrete support to push back on his criminal charge. Not only did 3D Forensic's video analysis sway a jury against convicting Mr. Baker, but it also encouraged his attorneys to file a civil suit against the police department.

**NOTE: Each case is affected by unique factors and requires an independent forensic approach. These case studies serve as general applications and are not universally applicable. The true identities of subjects, entities, and locations have been changed to protect anonymity.**

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"We have used Jason Fries and his team twice to create medical videos depicting complex surgeries. The videos impressed both the jury and the defense attorneys. Perhaps most helpful, Jason will work on short notice and provide a persuasive product."

Robert Igleheart
Robert Igleheart

Rouda, Feder, Tietjen & McGuinn