INDEX, independent expertise, video investigations and 3D reconstructions
Images are not enough The question of the use of violence by the state is a major source of debate in today’s France. From the working class districts to the city centers where demonstrations take place, images and accounts of police violence are flooding our media landscape. While the trust of many French citizens in its law enforcement institutions has degraded in the last few years, the government is still turning a blind eye to the problem. The president told us that the very use of the term "police violence" was "unacceptable". Many reports point to the declining number of prosecutions faced by law enforcement agents, and new legislation has been passed that keeps expanding police and security powers. Due to the difficulty of establishing responsibility, cases of state violence tend to be promptly dismissed. As for its victims, the procedures to obtain truth and justice all too often end up in deadlock. Laying down the facts This is the context in which INDEX intervenes. As an independent expertise laboratory, we investigate cases of state violence in order to establish the objective facts. From dynamic 3D modeling to frame-by-frame analysis of collected footage, our investigative methods derive from the possibilities brought about by smartphones and social media. The critical mass of images and data that circulates online today allows for a deep level of citizen scrutiny of events and incidents which, until recently, we had little visibility upon. However, the possibilities offered by new technologies must be met with rigorous methods, in order to tell true from false and to lay down the facts. The work of our team members has already clarified the circumstances of three deaths and two serious injuries, all of which have resulted from police operations. Investigation into Adama Traoré's death (with Le Monde and Forensic Architecture) Investigation into Zineb Redouane's death (with Disclose and Forensic Architecture) Investigation into Gaye Camara's death (with Disclose) Investigation into Adnane Nassih's mutilation (with Libération) Investigation into Jean-François Martin's mutilation (report submitted in court) Investigation into the aggression of "Moussa" by policemen inNoisy-le-Grand
(with Le Média TV) As truth is everyone’s business we strive to make it public, working alongside investigative media outlets and NGOs. In addition, several of our reports have been entered into evidence in court, so that they can have a concrete impact on the verdict to come. Impossible without you INDEX is the only structure in France to offer rigorous and truly independent expertise in cases of state violence. In that respect, we are receiving more and more requests from victims' families, attorneys, as well as NGOs and media organisations. In order to be able to respond to these calls, we must develop our means of action. It is why we are calling on your support today. INDEX brings together researchers, architects, journalists, videographers and data modelers. So far, our capacity to work has relied on our members’ commitment to the issue at stake. Now, we need to cover the cost of the regular work of our team and to strengthen our human and technical capacities. Before October 13th, we need to raise at least 30,000 euros in order to be able to run INDEX for another year and to cover the cost of three to five new investigations. Regardless of its amount, your contribution will help us carry on our work. Independent Expertise INDEX combines the notions of independence and expertise. Thereby, we are claiming the right to an in-depth and thorough look at the practices of those who are tasked with monitoring us. Our core competence lies in the reconstruction of events through their modeling in space and in time. In our investigations we cross-reference diverse fragments of information - pictures, videos, material traces or testimonies - which we bring together in a 3D virtual environment for the purposes of analysis and fact-checking. Through INDEX, we aim to reclaim the notion of expertise from a civil society perspective. While the expert is traditionally considered authoritative on a given question based on their expert status, we believe the truth value of an expertise should first reside in its content : in the facts that it establishes, and in the rigour of its demonstration. Within INDEX, our expertise is not individual, but collective: it is the combination of our various disciplinary skills that enables us to produce reliable evidence on the cases we work upon. INDEX stems from Forensic Architecture : a research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London which, since its establishment a decade ago, has become a global reference in open source investigation, spatial analysis and digital modeling. Its expertise has been requested by NGOs such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch and by media outlets such as the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel. Forensic Architecture's investigations on human rights violations have been presented in the United Nations Security Council and in the International Criminal Court. Closely linked to Forensic Architecture through our team and our methods, INDEX continues its investigative work and grounds it in France. Strictly non-profit INDEX is an non-profit organisation (“association loi 1901”), established in France in October 2020. It is solely funded by donations from individuals or charitable foundations who wish to support us without conditions or compensations. It is as members of civil society that we aim to conduct and share our work. In order to ensure our independence, we do not accept government subsidies or corporate donations. For the sake of impartiality, we also do not accept remuneration from the victims’ families when we conduct investigations at their request. Current Team Francesco Sebregondi, founder / researcher (doctor in architecture) Florence Cherrier, coordinator Galdric Fleury, architect / videographer Antoine Fontaine, architect / videographer Tara Sasson, videographer / editor Matthieu Vitse, researcher (doctor in computational mechanics) Alexander Samuel, researcher (doctor in molecular biology) The team will evolve according to the specific requirements of our investigations and activities to come. If you are interested in joining INDEX, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We estimate that we would need about 80.000 euros each year to operate INDEX at full capacity. However, we will make sure to use any amount of funding we will successfully collect from this campaign as effectively as possible. With 30.000 €: The first funding objective we have set corresponds to the minimal condition for INDEX's continuation. With this amount, we will be able to: Investigate. We will produce at least three new video investigations in 2022, which will be published with media partners or NGOs. Pre-investigate. We will be able to answer solicitations from alleged victims of state violence, their families, their legal representatives, or from independent media. We will produce preliminary studies that will potentially lead to a full investigation. Function. We will cover the running costs of the agency: the team's wages, equipment, and essential services to our activity. With 50.000 €: In addition to the activities mentioned, raising 50.000 euros would enable us to launch our training programme. We are planning to offer : Tutorials. Producing a series of open access tutorials on our Youtube channel, as introductions to citizen investigation methods, OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) and to our specific techniques of 3D reconstitution and video analysis. Workshops. Offering initial half-day training sessions on the basics of citizen investigation. Hosted by partner institutions, these workshops will be open to all and, as much as possible, free. Classes. Intervening in educational programmes related to our field of activity (journalism, video editing, 3D animation, etc.) INDEX has already established a partnership with the Kourtrajmé film school in Montfermeil (93), for a series of masterclasses on advanced video analysis. With 80.000 €: Reaching 80.000 euros would enable INDEX to function at full capacity across our different fields of activity. This amount would enable us to : Hire. A bigger team will enable us to expand our skill set and reinforce our means of actions. Investigate ++. Producing more investigations and allocating the necessary resources to each one of them. Innovate. Allocating a fraction of our budget to research and development of new investigative and presentation technologies. Set up an office. A dedicated office space in Paris would offer the team greater working conditions, expanded production means and the capacity to set up meetings with our diverse interlocutors. Beyond 80.000 € : Many of us want to hold the state to account for its use of violence. Together, if we exceed 80,000 euros in fundraising, it is a clear message that we send to the authorities: it is time for real change, concerning the control of the actions of the police. This change — towards more transparency and independence around investigations into state violence, towards the end of de facto impunity for its agents, towards a citizen "sub-veillance" of the police — is, in short, the horizon of the INDEX project. With over 80,000 euros in funding, we would be able to accelerate the long-term development of INDEX: Training ++. Developing INDEX’s training programme with the creation of a multi-week online course that will deliver a training certificate. Mobilize. Develop a close relation with civil society members and institutions engaged in demanding fundamental rights for all. Make the difference. Broadening our actions and messages, enhancing the public impact of our investigations. _ _ _ But the most important is this: regardless of the amount of your contribution, your participation in this crowdfunding will mean that you grant us your trust to undertake this mission of public interest. Acknowledgments To all of those who talked to us, listened, helped and supported us until today: the families of victims of state violence and their respective committees, the Réseau d'Entraide Vérité et Justice, the Désarmons-les collective, Sihame Assbague, Mathieu Rigouste, Disclose, Street Press, David Dufresne, Ismaël Halissat, Taha Bouhafs, Antoine Schirer, Emile Costard, Amanda Jacquel, Rémy Buisine, Maxime Reynié, Lucie Simon, Raphaël Kempf, Yassine Bouzrou, Arié Alimi, François Piron, Michel Feher, Eric Fassin, Vanessa Codaccioni, Rym Khadraoui, Technopolice, the Parisian Observatory for Public Freedom, Maximage (David Keshavjee), Ultra Sound Design (Benoit B), Émilie Ferrat, Jacob Burns, Eyal Weizman and the whole Forensic Architecture team, the Sans-Tête agency for the development of this crowdfunding campaign, as well as the “Un Monde Par Tous” foundation, which enabled the emergence of this project in 2021. Finally, to you, who took the time to learn about our project.