This the second time in 2 weeks that body cam footage was released showing Baltimore police allegedly planting drugs.
The first video was recorded January 24, but released in late July. Body cam footage reportedly showed 3 officers Richard Pinheiro, Jamal Brunson, and Hovhannes Simonyan involved in planting drugs in a yard full of debris.
The 3 officers involved were supposed to be looking for drugs in the yard, but body cam footage allegedly caught one of the officers, Richard Pinheiro, planting a bag of pills in the yard while the other 2 looked on. Pinheiro apparently thought he turned the body cam off, but actually only turned off the audio.
When he presses “record” on his body cam, the audio turns back on and shows Officer Pinheiro walking back to the same place he dropped the bag of pills and alerting the other officers he “found” it:
Officer Pinheiro was suspended and prosecutors were forced to dismiss the case.
This time, body cam footage captured 7 officers allegedly turning their body cameras on and off during a drug bust that occurred on November 29, 2016.
Officers stopped 35 year old Shamere Collins and her passenger, believing the passenger was involved in a drug deal.
Officers searched Collins’s car for a reported 30 minutes and initially found nothing. One officer appears to be placing items inside Collins’s car during the drug bust before their body cameras were cut off. Then, drugs appear in the car after body cameras are turned back on.
Both Collins and her passenger were attested for the marijuana and heroin “found” in the car.
After the body cam footage was released, all charges were dropped against Collins and her passenger.
Because drug convictions rely on the accuracy of officer testimony and body cam footage, Baltimore city officials had to reopen drug cases involving the 7 officers to check for malpractice.
123 cases had to be reopened, and after Baltimore’s State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office reviewed them, 34 drug cases were dismissed.
State Attorney Mosby gained notoriety after charging 6 Baltimore officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, and became the first public official to hold officers responsible for their involvement in the deaths of unarmed Black people during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Of the 123 reopened, “Mosby said 12 cases were moving forward on the strength of independent evidence that corroborated the busts”, says ABC News. “77 more cases are currently under review”.
The Baltimore Police Department have since released a statement after the release of the incriminating body cam footage:
“Anytime an allegation of misconduct is made, we take it seriously and investigate it fully. Right now, we are investigating the allegation that was brought forth by the Office of the Public Defender and the State’s Attorney’s Office,” the department said, per ABC News.