[8/23/17/ SPUTNIK] Baltimore prosecutors say that yet another police body camera video has surfaced showing “questionable activity” by a city police officer, causing dozens of related cases to be dropped.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby’s office said that an officer “self-reported” an incident of footage that was presented as a “reenactment of the seizure of evidence,” prompting prosecutors to reexamine cases involving that officer’s testimony.
The office said 43 cases are already slated to be dropped.
“The body-worn-camera program was established to fight crime, better protect officers, and foster public trust,” Mosby said in a statement cited by the Baltimore Sun. “Whether planting evidence, re-enacting the seizure of evidence or prematurely turning off the department-issued body-worn camera, those actions misrepresent the truth and undermine public trust.”
The latest video is under review, according to police spokesman T.J. Smith, who did not describe what was shown in the footage.
Pointing out that the officer self-reported the video, Smith said, “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. We are aware of it and it is something that we are looking into.”
He added, “Officers who mainly work with the utmost credibility, don’t want their credibility challenged because of a misunderstanding … So this is a good problem to have, when you are self-reporting.”
Smith didn’t specify how the officer self-reported, but predicted that the practice will become more common as time goes on, “out of an abundance of caution.”
In July, footage from the body camera of Baltimore City Police Officer Richard Pinheiro showed him staging a drug find, later arresting someone for the fraudulent discovery. The man who was arrested was being held on a $50,000 bond that he couldn’t afford and was released after the video was made public.
A second incident in early August appeared “to depict multiple officers working together to manufacture evidence,” the Baltimore Public Defender’s Office said at the time. Charges against people related to that footage were dropped as well.
The Public Defender’s Office Felony Division Chief Andrew Northrup was surprised by Mosby’s announcement of a third incident in two months, and suggested that the State’s Attorney had ulterior motives.
He suggested that the “fact that the state’s attorney went to the media about these cases without first talking to the defense lawyers involved in these cases speaks volumes that once again Marilyn Mosby chooses political expediency over justice.”