Canadian Police Say YouTube Aided Arrest

The Associated Press
Thursday, December 21, 2006; 4:48 PM

TORONTO -- Canadian police say they believe the attention surrounding their posting of surveillance camera tape on the video-sharing giant YouTube helped lead to the arrest of a suspect in the stabbing death of a man at hip-hop concert.

Ryan Milner, 22, of Grimsby, Ontario, was knifed to death in a parking lot after attending the concert at Club 77 in Hamilton, about 40 miles southwest of Toronto, on Nov. 17. A friend was also stabbed, but survived.

Two weeks ago, Hamilton police posted a 72-second clip on YouTube from a surveillance camera at the club and asked witnesses to come forward. The video posting had drawn more than 34,000 hits by Thursday and attracted attention from as far away as Singapore.

George Gallo, 24, turned himself into police after the video was posted online. He appeared in court Wednesday and faces second-degree murder and attempted murder charges.

Police said the attention brought to the case by the use of YouTube likely encouraged the suspect to turn himself in.

Deputy Chief Ken Leendertse said he was pleased with his officers for using the Internet in their investigation. Police also scoured a hip-hop Web site to read postings of people who were at the concert and might be potential witnesses.

"Most of the people who attended (the concert) were in their late teens and early 20s," said Det. Sgt. Jorge Lasso, who posted the video.

"My own children are in that age category and they spend all their time on the Internet; they do not watch mainstream media," Lasso told a news conference. "The investigators talked about how they could get the video viewed by the people who attended the performance and we decided that it was quite likely they would view it online."

"I am certain that the fact the video was posted on YouTube caused people to call us with some information," Lasso said. "It was not information that directly identified the culprit, but it was information that advanced the investigation."

Rick Broadhead, a leading Canadian technology and Internet expert, said he expects the case to lead to even greater police use of YouTube in the future.

"YouTube, I think, is a dream for law enforcement because at a very low expense, it gives them a global platform," Broadhead said. "They're not only reaching people in Toronto, they're reaching people across Canada, across the continent and around the world."

© 2006 The Associated Press