Did a Baltimore police officer plant a bag of heroin capsules at an arrest scene, then charge an innocent man…, or was he just “recreating” an actual incident wherein he found drugs and documenting it with his body camera?
A video is going viral of body cam coverage from a drug arrest in January, which shows Baltimore police officer Richard Pinheiro placing a bag of white drug capsules in a pile of debris in an alleyway, underneath an old, discarded ladder, as two other officers accompanying him stand by.
Since the footage has now been released, the Baltimore Police Department has suspended Pinheiro, who has been on the force since 2011, and placed the other two officers on administrative leave, while the matter is being investigated.
The other two officers have been identified as Officers Hovhannes Simonyan and Jamal Brunson, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Police body cameras reportedly will record and save the first 30 seconds of video, with no audio, before the device is activated.
The footage clearly shows the officer placing the bag of drugs at the scene, after which he returned to the street and activated his camera, saying, “I’m gonna go check here.” He then went back to the pile of debris in the alley and “found” the drugs.
After prosecutors saw the video last week, they reportedly dropped the drug charges against the man who was arrested in the January incident – and has been in jail ever since because he could not post the required $50,000 bail.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis commented that his department has not yet reached a determination, and said the public should not jump to conclusions, as the officers may have truly been documenting how the arrest played out. He did admit, however, that at first impression, “it doesn’t look good,” but said that’s not the complete investigation.
Davis said the scene was an area known for drug dealing, and the department has now released three additional videos which involve the same suspect.
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