A Baltimore Cop Who Was Caught On Video Apparently Planting Drugs Has Been Charged

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The Baltimore police officer whose physique digicam appeared to catch him planting medication was charged this week with proof tampering.

Baltimore State Legal professional Marilyn Mosby introduced grand jury indicted officer Richard Pinheiro. Officers have confirmed that the medication within the video had been used to implicate a defendant who was scheduled to face trial in July 2017.

Pinheiro was charged with “tampering with or fabricating bodily proof” involving “physique worn digicam footage in an effort to impair the verity of the bodily proof with the intent to deceive” and “frequent regulation misconduct in workplace” involving “a wrongful and improper act within the efficiency of his official duties.”

For the tampering cost, a misdemeanor, Pinheiro might resist three years in jail. The official misconduct cost is a Maryland frequent regulation offense, which implies the courtroom is free to impose any penalty that isn’t seen as merciless and strange punishment.

Within the January 2017 video, Pinheiro seems to position a bag of drugs beneath some rubbish in an alley. He then walks again out to the road, at which level he prompts the physique digicam. However as a result of the cameras are programmed to seize video 30 seconds earlier than activation, the officer’s actions earlier than coming back from the alley had been recorded.

“I’m going to test right here,” Pinheiro will be heard saying, earlier than he walks again down the alley. After furrowing round within the trash for a pair seconds, the officer locates the bag inside a soup can and exclaims “yo!” as he holds it as much as his two fellow officers. These officers had been recognized to BuzzFeed Information by the Maryland public defender’s workplace as officers Jamal Brunson and Jovannes Simonyan.

“As State’s Legal professional, I’ve made a pledge to use one commonplace of justice for all. It is important we stay clear all through the method to the extent the regulation permits as we proceed to rebuild group belief,” Mosby mentioned in a press release. “Yesterday’s indictment is one other instance of our workplace making use of justice pretty and equally.”

The defendant who was arrested within the incident was scheduled to face trial in July 2017, however the expenses had been dropped after the person’s public defender reviewed the video and alerted the prosecutor.

Deborah Katz Levi, assistant public defender for Baltimore’s felony division, advised BuzzFeed Information that the legal professional representing the defendant charged within the case found the video footage whereas reviewing materials “on the eve of trial” and alerted the state’s legal professional’s workplace.

After the video was made public, a spokesperson for Baltimore State’s Legal professional advised BuzzFeed Information that an legal professional of their workplace discovered about “what gave the impression to be troubling exercise by a Baltimore police officer” final Friday and “took instant and applicable actions by dropping the case and alerting his supervisor.”

The general public defender’s workplace confirmed to BuzzFeed Information that the prosecutor had supplied a plea deal to their consumer whereas the damning video proof was of their possession. Nonetheless, it’s unclear whether or not attorneys for the prosecution seen the video earlier than providing a plea deal.

The general public defender’s workplace known as for a overview of all circumstances involving the three officers. BuzzFeed Information contacted the officers’ union concerning the allegations however by no means heard again. The general public defender’s workplace advised BuzzFeed Information that Pinheiro is believed to be a witness in roughly 53 energetic circumstances.

“We take allegations like this very critically and that’s why we launched an inner investigation into the accusations,” a spokesperson for the Baltimore Police mentioned in a press release to BuzzFeed Information. “We’re lucky to have body-worn cameras which offer a perspective of the occasions as reported.”

Mosby additionally introduced that her workplace was declining to cost three different officers in a separate June 2017 incident captured by body-worn cameras displaying an alleged reenactment of a drug discovery. The state’s legal professional’s workplace mentioned that an investigation of the incident confirmed “that the acts on the video had been simply the restoration of medicine and there’s nothing false or fraudulent within the [body-worn camera] movies that will deceive or mislead an inexpensive individual” or rise to the extent of “felony culpability.”

Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed Information and is predicated in New York.

Contact Mike Hayes at [email protected]

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