Today the Office of the Public Defender of Baltimore, Maryland, has released a body cam video in which shows a Baltimore police officer planting drugs that resulted in an criminal arrest.
The released 90 seconds of the body camera video has police investigating their own department through internal affairs for potential criminal charges.
However the infamously corrupt Baltimore Police Department are now claiming that there is more to this story than the short video clip tells which shows officers handling illegal drugs allegedly to plant them.
Baltimore Police have also released more video to back up their claims of innocence as they continue to investigate these serious allegations against their own officers.
The body cam footage was taken inside of a Baltimore alley, but the reason why the Baltimore Police Officer appears to be planting drugs is not clear at this time.
“What we think we see, and if you slow down the video especially in the first five seconds, the officer appearing to place a red can underneath some trash, push the fence up, and hide it,” said Public Defender Debbie Katz Levi.
The footage was taken in January, but not discovered by a Public Defender representing one of the accused from Levi’s office until this month.
She alleged that the act of planting drugs was caught because Baltimore police body cameras capture the first 30 seconds before an officer actually hits the record button, but without audio.
She went on to say that, “He then walks down the alley and miraculously goes to the same space where he appeared to have just planted the can with the suspected narcotics.”
Today the Baltimore Police fired back with extended footage tied to the same drug arrest which they say may vindicate their officers.
In the second set of video it shows police searching the same southwest Baltimore yard just minutes before the initial video and arrest, and they were able to find another bag of suspected heroin.
Now police are investigating if the officer indeed planted the second set of drugs there or if he was recreating the discovery when his body camera was rolling for evidence, either way the controversy has tempers flaring in the already tense Baltimore region.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said that, “It’s certainly a possibility that we’re looking into, to see if the officers, in fact, replaced drugs that they had already discovered to document the discovery with their body worn cameras on.”
There remains several unanswered questions that could trickle down to other criminal cases on the court docket, as the officer in question is also a witness in more than 50 other cases.
Reporters asked Police Commissioner Davis if he was concerned that the Public Defender’s office is saying this could compromise police work in the 53 other cases.
“No, I’m not concerned,” Davis said. “Obviously, we’re going to partner with them and look into those other cases.”
Following the new discovery of the video, one officer has been suspended. The question remains as to why this video wasn't reviewed by the department and the District Attorney’s office to begin with.
There are an alleged two others are on desk duty while the Office of Professional Responsibility investigates the allegations against the department.
The man who was arrested on drug charges tied to the original video was set for trial last week, and the State’s Attorney’s Office dropped the case.
Now there remains the potential for a massive civil suit against the department and also the chance that the 53 other cases will be dropped due to the officer's alleged misconduct.