The Baltimore police officer who was caught on his body worn camera planting drugs at a crime scene has been indicted and brought up on charges for fabricating physical evidence. The viral video that created massive outrage shows the officer planting a bag of drugs at the crime scene and then later coming back to where he planted the drugs and picking them up as if he had made a new discovery.
Maryland’s Public Defender’s office initially released the damaging video to the public in July. Defendants of the accused officer, Richard Pinheiro, have claimed that the officer did not break the law. Pinheiro’s lawyers claim that the video was a reenactment of Pinheiro finding the drugs because he found them when his body camera was off and wanted to make sure that the recovery of the white capsules was properly documented.
Following the incident, two other videos of similar misconduct were released forcing prosecutors to review previous cases that the officers were involved in for possible misconduct in those investigations. These investigations forced the police department to drop “dozens” of cases against the accused that were related to evidence tampering in police officer’s investigations.
The indictment for the 29-year-old officer was issued on Tuesday for the misdemeanor charges and the arraignment is reportedly scheduled for February. Pinheiro is facing a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine for the offense.
The city of Baltimore has had constant issues with police officers. In 2015, the city of Baltimore was in the national spotlight after a routine arrest turned into a fatality for Baltimore resident Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray was killed after a week in police custody with reported injuries to his spinal cord. Injuries were reported during Gray’s arrest, but a lack of getting medical care to the accused caused Gray’s death with a reported 80 percent severed spine.
The fatality drew great outrage and was the central cause of the Baltimore riots in 2015. None of the involved officers were convicted of any wrongdoing