Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said that her office has obtained footage from 10 body cameras (body cam) from the case involving the planting of evidence. Three officers were seen in one policeman’s body camera footage where they appeared to plant drugs in a messy lot full of trash and then pretended to discover the drug capsules for the first time. One of the officers has been suspended and two were placed on administrative duty. Their conduct in this and other instances is currently under investigation.
The body cams are programmed to automatically begin recording 30 seconds, albeit without sound, before the recording is initiated. The police in the footage appear unaware of this. The public defender’s office found the puzzling footage upon review and alerted prosecutors on the case. The drug charges against the person arrested were then dismissed.
One of the officers still took the stand in an unrelated case, even after officials were made aware of the footage. At the press conference, reporters hounded Mosby about allowing the officer to still proceed on the witness stand in another case despite knowledge of the footage. Mosby replied that her office needed time to be alerted and then review the footage, and the they acted quickly.
A press release from the state attorney’s office shows the entire timeline of the case involving the body cam footage, but Mosby maintains they still need time to scrutinize the case and allow a thorough investigation. Baltimore has units charged with reviewing large amounts of police body cam footage daily.
Baltimore police walked the public through more body cam footage from the incident. The evidence is different from the scene in question. From the footage that shows the officer putting drugs into the lot, they said the officers may have been re-enacting finding the evidence rather than planting it.
Baltimore recently indicted seven officers for “robbing citizens, filing false court paperwork, and claiming overtime they had not earned,” according to a Baltimore Sun report. The officers were accused in March. Much of the evidence involved covert recording of the officers’ activities. Many cases involving the testimony of those officers had to be dropped.
The body cam footage investigation is expected to reveal whether this was a one time incident or a chronic issue, like in the case above, and whether past cases for these officers will also have to be thrown out.