Baltimore police have once again gotten their hands caught in the proverbial cookie jar—that is, on video—“manufacturing evidence,” as dozens of cases are being dismissed by the state’s attorney in the wake of a similar, initial video.
The New York Times reports that the office of Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is dismissing more than 40 criminal cases after review of a bodycam video that shows a police officer planting evidence in a backyard while two of his colleagues look on.
“The credibility of those officers has now been directly called into question,” said Mosby at a news conference last week.
Richard Pinheiro has been identified by authorities as the officer who planted the drugs. Pinheiro has been suspended. The two other officers, Police Officers Hovhannes Simonyan and Jamal Brunson, have been put on administrative duty pending an investigation by both the Police Department and the prosecutor’s office.
As of Tuesday night, 41 cases had been dropped or were set to be dropped.
The case also highlights the efficacy of body cameras, which police officers can turn on and off at will. However, in the case of Pinheiro, it turns out that Baltimore police retain footage of the 30 seconds before the cameras are activated; the theory is that Pinheiro didn’t know that his first 30 seconds were being recorded.
But, wait, it gets worse.
The Baltimore Sun reports that there is another video, also in possession of the Baltimore Public Defender’s Office—the same office that had released the first video—that “appears to depict multiple officers working together to manufacture evidence.”
That case involves seven officers, though Mosby’s office has referred only two officers to the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Section, according to the Sun.
However, a spokesperson for the public defender’s office says it has not released the latest video because the defendant in that case is not represented by the office.
Regarding the first video, which has been released, the three officers shown in that footage had been scheduled to participate in 123 cases, according to the Times. Mosby said that her office is dismissing only the cases in which the charges relied solely on the officers’ testimonies.
So far, in addition to the 41 cases that have been dropped involving those three officers, 27 cases have been cleared for the prosecution to continue, and the remaining 55 are still awaiting review.
As evidenced by the stories below, something is obviously rotten in the cotton.
Read more at the New York Times and the Baltimore Sun.