Footage shows officer placing drugs in trash; goes out to street, turns on camera, returns. Cams save 30 sec prior to activation, w/o sound pic.twitter.com/5ZW128lWFM
— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) July 19, 2017
The Baltimore Police Department and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office have been thrust into investigatory mode as a video posted to Twitter last night shows a police officer reportedly planting drugs and then feigning discovery of those same drugs.
In footage from the unidentified police officer’s body camera, the cop is seen placing a plastic baggie full of what appears to be drugs into a soup can which he then places into an alley-adjacent lot filled with garbage. The officer and two police iffucers then walk to the street in front of the lot when the sound kicks in.
The body cameras used by the Baltimore Police Department have a feature which can record an initial thirty seconds of sound-free video prior to being activated.
At this point, the officer turns on his body camera and says, “I’m gonna go check here. Hold on.”
He then returns to the lot and discovers the can full of drugs which he had apparently placed there only moments before.
The video dates from January. The drugs originally believed to have been found by the officer were used as evidence to imprison a man who was held since then on $50,000 bail–which he could not afford to pay.
Prosecutors had offered the man a three-year plea deal based on the manipulated evidence, but charges were eventually dropped once the Baltimore public defender’s office flagged the video and its contents made their way up the chain of command.
According to Justin Fenton in The Baltimore Sun, prosecutors failed to disclose the contents of the video to the defense and then called the same officer as a witness in a different case just days after this evidence was made clear. And, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Jay Malik, “[A] shitstorm is coming,” due to the video.
The officer in question has yet to be identified. Repeated requests by LawNewz.com to the Baltimore Police Department for additional information have gone unanswered. This post will be updated if and when the Baltimore Police Department responds.
The Baltimore Police Department’s Internal Affairs division is currently investigating the officers involved.
[image via screengrab; video courtesy Baltimore Police Department/Twitter]