Baltimore Public Defender's Office Accuses Police Officer of Planting Evidence

Baltimore police and prosecutors launched an investigation after the public defender’s office uncovered body-camera footage it says shows an officer planting evidence. The public defender’s office released the footage on Wednesday, July 19.

The footage was taken from a January drug arrest, according to a news report.

The video shows an officer putting a baggie inside a soup can at the start of the video, placing it on the ground and moving debris over it at the back of a vacant lot as two other officers watch. He then walks back to the street with the other officers, where it appears he turns on his body camera.

He says he’s going to “check here,” then walks back to the rear of the vacant lot, looks through the debris on the ground and then picks up the soup can and pulls out the baggie of white capsules.

The Baltimore Sun reported the police body cameras have a mechanism that will include 30 seconds of muted footage before the camera is officially turned on. The first 30 seconds of this video are muted.

The public defender’s office in a press release identified the officer as Richard Pinheiro, and said all three officers are witnesses in other active cases before the city circuit court. Pinherio is a witness in 53 active cases, the release said.

Baltimore police told The Sun officials had launched an internal investigation and planned to release more video and information at a press conference on Wednesday.

The charges were dropped in the case involving the body camera footage, the public defender’s press release said, but Pinheiro testified in another case the following week. “No clear policy has been taken in other cases involving these officers,” the release said. Credit: Baltimore Police Department via Storyful