Baltimore drops 43 police cases after cops ‘fake’ another bodycam video (Yes, that makes three)
By Michael Harriot
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby has identified at least 43 cases that will be dismissed after a police officer basically admitted to faking a police video, leaving many people wondering, “Damn, are there any criminals in Baltimore, or are B-more cops out on the streets making their own episodes of The Wire every day?”
To be fair, the state’s attorney’s office did not describe the video as “faked.” It also did not use the word “admitted” in describing the officer’s actions. In its words, one of Baltimore’s finest “self-reported” an incident that
looked like the cop had found evidence, only it was, in fact, a “re-enactment of the seizure of evidence,” according to the Baltimore Sun. Seems legit, right?
In July, prosecutors released a video showing Police Officer Richard Pinheiro hiding a bag of alleged drugs in a backyard, walking into an alley, turning his camera on and then “discovering” the illegal substances. Pinheiro was suspended pending further investigation, and the two cops with him were placed on administrative duty. The incident forced the state to drop 68 cases and review another 133.
A few weeks later, a second video emerged of officers searching a man’s car but finding nothing. The officers then turned their cameras on and miraculously found drugs in the same car. The state postponed 44 cases and are reviewing another 170 cases in which those three officers were involved.
In both cases, Police Com-missioner Ken Davis said he was investigating the possibility that the officers legitimately discovered the drugs but decided to re-enact the discoveries because …umm … well, he didn’t actually explain that part.
Commissioner Davis also did not mention how any citizen is supposed to trust the Baltimore Police Department ever again. He also did not comment on the thousands of people who might be in jail on trumped-up charges. Also not mentioned is why the officers thought they needed to “re-enact” finding evidence when they didn’t have video evidence for the 260 years before body cameras.
Some speculate that officers are faking videos because they are under pressure to fulfill arrest quotas. WJZ in Baltimore reports it found an internal memo that warns officers that they need to “make statistics, car stops and produce war-rants.” The memo goes on to say that the department will collect these stats every two hours to make sure officers are performing.
Police spokesman T.J. Smith said of the latest allegations regarding what is now a third video: “This is not an allegation of planting evidence. This is a self-reported situation where the officer felt that it deserved more scrutiny based on the things that have been in the news. … This is a good problem to have when you are self-reporting.”
When asked about the honor and trustworthiness of the BPD, Freddie Gray could not be reached for comment.