[WATCH] LAPD bodycam video appears to show officer planting drugs on a 52-year-old Black man arrested and charged with felony hit-and-run and possession of cocaine. via @CBSLA's @CBSLAdavid #LAPD #SouthLA pic.twitter.com/gsjR4ub5Vq— Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne) November 10, 2017
Los Angeles police officers arrested and charged a 52-year-old black man after allegedly finding narcotics in his pocket, but body camera footage suggests the cops possibly planted the drug.
Ronald Shields was arrested and charged with a felony hit-and-run and possession of cocaine. During the pretrial hearing of the case on Thursday, the suspect’s attorney played footage from the April arrest that directly contradicts LAPD’s sworn testimony. While Officer Samuel Lee said he found the drug in Shields’ left front pocket, the video displays a different scenario.
In the body camera footage obtained through a CBS2 News investigation, an officer only identified as "Officer Gaxiola" is seen picking up Shields’ wallet off the street and appears to place a small bag of white powder that tested positive for drugs inside it — all while motioning to Lee during the process.
The officer then activates his body camera, presumably unaware that the previous 30 seconds were automatically saved.
"The drugs were certainly planted," defense attorney, Steve Levine, said. "If not for the bodycam video, my client would be convicted of a crime he didn't commit."
The LAPD has now launched an investigation into this matter after the video was broadcasted in the media.
"The LAPD takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and, as in all cases, will conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether the alleged actions are supported by reliable evidence," the department said in a statement.
As police brutality and racial profiling remain the norm in how cops interact with minorities, it seems that now framing these communities is becoming the disturbing standard as well.