A newly released video shows what could be a Baltimore police officer planting drugs, caught by a body camera.
The Office of the Public Defender released body cam video. The office claims it shows an officer planting drugs that led to an arrest, according to CBS Baltimore.
It happened in January. The video shows three officers in an alley. One officer places a can on the ground and covers it up with a piece of wood.
The officers go to the street for a few seconds before the officer who placed the can on the ground comes back to the alley, in the place they just left.
That officer searches the area, and lifts the large wood piece. He picks up the can that he had just placed there and finds what looks like drugs in the can.
The video has no sound at the beginning, which indicates the officer turned on his body camera before finding the drugs. The body cameras save 30 seconds before being turned on, but don't save the sound, according to CBS Baltimore.
The charges against the suspect have been dropped, according to the release from the Baltimore Public Defender’s office.
The Office of the Public Defender is now concerned with the fact that the officer shown in the video, Richard Pinheiro, is a witness in 53 other cases, and there had been no mention of this body cam footage.
An assistant public defender, who represented the person charged with the planted drugs, forwarded the video to the State’s Attorney Office last week.
The prosecutor of the case claimed to be “appalled” by the video and dropped the charges on the case. But no clear policy has been taken in other cases involving these officers.
Officer Pinheiro was called to testify in another case the following week without any disclosure of this video.
Debbie Katz Levi, head of the Baltimore Public Defender’s Special Litigation Section, said officer conduct has been an issue in the BPD, which has been exacerbated by a lack of accountability.
“We have long supported the use of police body cameras to help identify police misconduct, but such footage is meaningless if prosecutors continue to rely on these officers, especially if they do so without disclosing their bad acts.”