A number of Baltimore police officers are reportedly being investigated for planting fake evidence.
After the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American who died under mysterious circumstances after police illegally arrested and transported him in the back of a van, Baltimore Police Department outfitted 500 of its officers with body cameras.
Then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake believed the cameras would “help bring a greater sense of accountability and trust,” while police officials thought the program would prevent such incidents from taking place. However, turns out those body cam videos are extremely useful in solving a plethora of cases other than instances of police brutality.
Just a few weeks ago, the Baltimore Office of the Public Defender released body cam footage that showed an officer, identified as Officer Richard Pinheiro, planting a bag of pills in an alleyway behind a suspect’s house. A few seconds later, Pinheiro went back to the place where he had hid the drugs and pretended to search the premise before “discovering” the pills. He then acted as if he had never seen them before, unaware his body cam had recorded the entire thing.
The officer’s "discovery" led to possession with intent to distribute charges being brought against 27-year-old Tyrone Jones. Authorities dropped the charges after the footage came to light.
Sadly, Pinheiro is not the only cop who has been caught planting fake evidence. The local public defender's office claimed there is a new video that appears to show Baltimore police officers planting drugs inside someone’s car.
“When the cameras come back on one officer is seen squatting by the driver’s seat area. The group of officers then wait approximately 30 seconds,” the public defender's office said in a statement. “Shortly thereafter, another officer asks if the area by that compartment has been searched. Nobody responds, and the officer reaches in and locates a bag that appears to contain drugs right by where the prior officer was, and where the car had been thoroughly searched about a half an hour prior with absolutely no results.”
Apparently, most officers fail to realize their cameras silently capture up to 30 seconds of video before they manually turn them on.
The new video, which involves different officers, has not been released yet, but the authorities have reportedly dropped the charges against the suspect.
The officials are currently investigating the two incidents.
Moreover, a series of body camera videos from other incidents allegedly appear to show a similar behavior from the officers.
Watch the body cam footage video of Pinheiro planting drugs in the video below.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Sait Serkan Gurbuz