In October of 2011, a truck hit and killed artist Mathieu Lefevre while he was biking in Brooklyn. Since then, Lefevre’s family and their lawyers have been trying to find out what exactly happened that night. The NYPD’s investigation includes descriptions of surveillance footage showing Lefevre trying to pass a truck on the right. But now Lefevre’s family and lawyers have seen the tapes the NYPD used to draw these conclusions, and the footage doesn’t quite match up with the NYPD’s interpretation of it.

The videos (available at Streetsblog) are not exactly Oscar-winning tape. The light is murky, and they’re not really videos but strung-together frames captured every few seconds. The truck in question appears a couple of times, but a bicyclist only once. It’s a stretch to say, as NYPD does, that the video “revealed” details like “the bicyclist/pedestrian was struck by the passenger right side of Vehicle #1” (the truck). You just can’t see what’s going on enough to make that kind of claim. Plus, two different police reports have two different accounts of the accident: The second one says the bicyclist ran into the side of the truck.

Details in hit-and-runs like this aren’t always clear. But the NYPD apparently thought they were clear enough that they haven’t brought any criminal charges against the truck driver. Now it appears they may have based that decision on something pretty inconclusive.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.