Wearing body cams can be a doubled-edged sword for officers. On one hand, it can clear you if a suspect you handled during an arrest claims abuse. On the other hand, it can incriminate you. And if you’re a dirty cop, there is going to be video proof of your shady practices.
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The 90-second video footage, which was obtained by the Baltimore Sun, showed a Baltimore police officer, Richard Pinheiro, planting drugs at the scene of a crime. The incident took place in January of 2017 and clearly shows the officer placing white pills into a discarded soup can.
Once the video was made public, an investigation was immediately launched to look into Pinheiro and the two other fellow officers in the video. It has been reported that Pinheiro is currently acting as a witness in over 50 cases.
The first 30-seconds of the video has no sound because Pinheiro turned his bodycam off. Fortunately, the bodycam still records video but not sound when it is deactivated, according to the Daily Mail.
Once the sound comes back on the video, Pinheiro can be heard saying, “I’m going to go check down here, hold on.”
The officer begins to walk down to the alley the officers just left, and Pinheiro can be seen searching through some debris until he “finds” the abandoned soup can he put the drugs in. He then proceeds to yell “yo” to the other officers indicating that he has found something.
The video cuts off after he reaches the street and rejoins the other officers. The Sun reported that the defendant, in this case, was in jail on $50,000 bond. He was released and all charges were dropped one day after the video made it to the courts.
The defendant, Tyrone Jones, 27, was scheduled for trial a week after the video came out. Jones gave a statement after being released, “I told you I didn’t do it! I told you!,” he told Daily News.
According to Jones’ sister, Tyrone was given a plea deal that would have sentenced him to 12 years in federal prison. Tyrone’s public defender, Louis Curran, criticize Pinheiro by stating, “I guess that he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.”
The prosecutor in the case made a statement that echoed her disdain for the situation. “I’ve passed it up and we are all appalled … something is going to happen because of this revelation,” she said.
Allegedly, even after the police department saw the video, they still allowed him to act as a witness in other cases.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis announced in a press conference Wednesday, one of his officers has been placed on leave while an internal investigation ensues.