Baltimore police officers accused of planting evidence

Baltimore Drops Dozens of Cases After Video Casts Doubt on Officers
More video emerges of suspected drug planting by Baltimore police
Author

04 August, 2017

At least 41 criminal cases in Baltimore will be thrown out and dozens more are in jeopardy after a police officer's body camera appeared to show him planting drugs before an arrest.

In the video, officers are then seen finding drugs in that same vehicle.

Five cases have also been dismissed - including Insley's client, Shamere Collins, 35, whose auto appears in the newly released video.

"Those drugs were not in that auto when we were pulled out", Collins said in a statement.

These cases of police evidence tampering aren't helping the image of a beleaguered agency one year removed from a U.S. Department of Justice report that described the Baltimore Police Department as engaging "in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law".

CNN has obtained the videos and is analyzing them to pinpoint the moment the public defender's office claims drugs were planted.

"The good news is, a lot of these issues are coming to light so there's awareness and there's true accountability from the top down in the police department", Weinhold said. "But I do know that it's not healthy to jump to a conclusion that police officers did something criminal. That's a heavy allegation to make", Davis said. "It would be premature of me to stand in front of you and reach a conclusion as to exactly what happened", he said. "All of the body-worn cameras haven't even been implemented, and I think that we're going to go through growing pains". "Before we blanketly characterize their behavior as deceptive and or a credibility issue, we referred the matter to the Internal Affairs Division of the Baltimore Police Department".

Officers arrested Collins on November 29, 2016, after they told her they smelled marijuana. Authorities have not identified either officer.

One of the videos published this week show an officer searching around the driver's seat for about a minute but finding nothing after a traffic stop on November 29 past year. But after turning their body cameras off and then back on, that changed.

Police commissioner Kevin Davis put out a memo this week mandating officers record an explanation if they turn their cameras off during an encounter.

One of the videos from the arrest shows one officer crouching by the driver's seat, but his hands aren't visible in the video. "Shortly thereafter, another officer asks if the area by that compartment has been searched".

"What these videos show is a deep culture of disrespect for the people of Baltimore", said Assistant Public Defender Debbie Katz Levi. The cases that have been dismissed involve drug-related felonies and weapons possession, Antonio Gioia, chief counsel at the Baltimore state's attorney's office, said at the news conference on Friday.

The body cameras used in Baltimore record silent footage of the 30 seconds preceding the camera's activation.

Last month the city's public defender released video of a separate incident involving different officers which appeared to show one of them leaving a small bag of capsules in a trash-strewn yard.

By August 2, state attorneys dismissed 41 cases involving drug-related felonies and weapon possession that would have relied exclusively on testimony from one of the three officers.

Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby said a second video is under review at internal affairs.

Mosby also said that "an additional video raised concern", though it was not clear if that referred to this latest body camera video.

Smith later suggested that the police may have recreated the drug discovery for the body cameras.


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