A Baltimore officer who reportedly planted evidence at a scene is now under investigation after his own body camera caught him in action.
The unidentified officer in January was seen putting heroin pills into a soup can lying in an alley.
He and two officers with him briefly step out onto the sidewalk before he says “I’m gonna go check here,” he then returns to the alley and finds the same drugs in the same can.
Where the drugs came from wasn’t immediately clear from the video, though public defenders in Baltimore have said the cop, who they identified as Officer Richard Pinheiro, planted the evidence
Charges against one-time suspect Tyrone Jones, 27-years-old, included possession with intent to distribute, but were dropped last week. Jones, who had a pill on him during his arrest, is currently still in jail as he faces a parole violation hearing.
“His reaction was ‘I told you I didn’t do it! I told you!'” his sister Sheena Taylor-Jones said.
She said she credited her brother for sticking by his story that the drugs weren’t his, even if it meant staying in jail since January.
Louis Curran, a public defender, said he noticed the inconsistencies in the video while going over it and other officers’ cameras ahead of the trial date.
Police dash cameras are constantly recording, but only save 30 seconds at a time until an officer hits record. The resulting recording includes the last half-minute of video that it saved, along with video and audio of everything afterward.
Curran speculates that Pinheiro was waiting to turn his device on for his “discovery,” but miscounted and captured his alleged planting at the very beginning of his clip.
“I guess that he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer,” he said.
Curran saw the evidence of possible manipulation late Wednesday night and responded to prosecutors’ plea offer with his finding.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis confirmed that one of his officers has been suspended and stripped of his police powers during an internal investigation. Two other unidentified officers have been put on administrative duty.
“Police will work with the public defender’s office on dealing with other cases in which the officers are involved,” Davis said.
The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office also confirmed that prosecutors are looking into the video.
Source: USA Today