Days after a Baltimore cop was suspended for unwittingly filming himself apparently planting evidence, the Baltimore Public Defender’s Office has announced that they have uncovered a second video, with a different group of cops, which also “appears to depict multiple officers working together to manufacture evidence”. Additionally, prosecutors announced on Friday that they will drop felony drug and guns charges in 34 cases linked to testimony from the three officers in the original video. As many as 77 cases are still being reviewed.
Pinheiro’s body camera footage. Image Credit: Twitter/ Justin Fenton
Last month, Baltimore police suspended Officer Richard Pinheiro after body camera footage seemingly showed him planting a bag filled with pills into a soup can in an abandoned lot. Pinheiro, apparently unaware that the department’s body cameras save footage from 30 seconds before officers hit record, set his body camera to begin recording video a few seconds later, after he planted the baggie but before he “discovered” it. Pinheiro was suspended, and two other officers seen in the video, Hovhannes Simonyan and Jamal Brunson, have been placed on desk duty.
During the news conference announcing the dropped charges, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby referenced a second video under review. As the Baltimore Public Defender’s Office described it to The Baltimore Sun, the video features seven officers recovering drugs during a traffic stop. Police told the paper that there is a gap in the footage “before the final recovery of additional drugs” and two of the seven officers have been suspended pending an investigation by internal affairs. Cases linked to these two officers are being delayed as well.
“Pending the Baltimore Police Department‘s investigation pertaining to the officer’s conduct, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office is requesting postponements on all cases involving the officers,” said a spokesperson for Mosby. “We look forward to continuing the advancement and pursuit of justice for all.”
This isn’t the only case of falsified body camera footage leading to dropped charges. Earlier this year, a felony case was dropped in Colorado after an officer admitted to finding drugs in a suspect’s car without filming the discovery, and then “re-creating” the search with his body camera turned on.