The Baltimore Police Department is now under fire after footage of an officer planting evidence has surfaced.
It was on Wednesday [July 19] that the city’s local Fox 45 ran an exclusive that featured footage of the police officer hiding drugs in a crime scene, failing to realize that his body cam was recording.
In the clip, it is Officer Richard Pinheiro who is seen placing a bag of pills in a trash pile on the side of a building while two other officers stand behind him and watch.
He soon returns to the front of the building, activates his body camera, and proceeds back to the side of the building where he “finds” the evidence, and alerts his fellow officers.
Pinheiro’s fault, among others, was his failure to realize that body-worn cameras record up to 30 seconds of footage before being activated, which allowed plenty of time to catch him in the act.
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 defendant involved in this case was scheduled to go on trial this week, with Pinheiro on the witness list for the prosecution.
The Baltimore State Attorney’s office, who had possession of the footage, offered the defendant a plea deal, but it was at the eleventh hour, one night before trial was to begin, that a public defender reviewed the footage and made this discovery.
“They watched it and were appalled by what was on the video, and then for whatever reason made the choice to continue to call him as a witness,” Public Defender Debbie Katz Levi tells Fox 45.
Currently, one officer has been suspended while two others are on administrative leave while the Baltimore Police Department investigates.
“We take allegations like this very seriously and that’s why we launched an internal investigation into the accusations,” said the department in a statement. “We are fortunate to have Body Worn Cameras which provide a perspective of the events as reported.”