State's attorney reviewing body-cam videos after officers were accused of planting evidence

Office reviewing 100 cases of body-cam footage
Posted at 7:58 PM, Jul 20, 2017

Body cam footage from an arrest in Baltimore tells the story: Place evidence in a yard, walk out of the alley, and then turn the camera on to magically find said evidence.

"We have not reached any conclusions because that is what an investigation is for, but to let that initial video released by the Public Defender’s Office stand all by its lonesome I think doesn't paint as clear of a picture that we would like to offer to the community right now," Commissioner Kevin Davis said.

So police released three more of the total 10 body worn camera clips pertaining to the case.

One video shows how Officer Pinheiro pulled over the drug buyer, another clip shows how officers arrested the seller and then a third clip where police seem to legitimately search a yard finding the first bag of heroin.

All of the body camera video coincides with the original charging documents in this case which explain the arrests after a surveillance of the well-known drug area in Southwest Baltimore.

The find of a second bag of heroin is detailed as well, a clear bag with “22 clear gel caps,” but there is no description that explains the apparent staging in the last body worn camera clip.

It is a clip that went viral yesterday and may appear to be as nefarious as planting evidence, or perhaps the ill-advised practice of re-enacting the finding of evidence that wasn’t originally caught on camera.

Either scenario is not a welcome sight to the commissioner.

"That's not part of our business model to re-enact the recovery of contraband but the snippet that was originally released a day or so ago depicts is something that takes people aback," Davis said.

That includes the Baltimore State’s Attorney who today called her own press conference Thursday.       

Marilyn Mosby said her office received 10 body worn camera video clips for this case.

At first, her office did not catch the video in question, a clip that could have dismissed the case against this suspect months ago.

When pressed, Mosby said other agencies failed to see it as well.

"This was something that was reviewed by the defense attorney who had this same information for more than three months and when it was brought to our attention, we looked at it and immediately did something about it,” Mosby said.

When asked if her office had more of a responsibility to scrub body camera video as it has the power to charge and prosecute she answered, “Well what I can tell you about that case is that the assistant made the assessment, a very thorough sort of evaluation about the case and was proceeding on the charges that weren’t related to what was on the video."

Still, the video was enough to dismiss the case entirely; video missed by both the Baltimore Police Department and the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office

Mosby’s office says it looks at anywhere from 150 to 318 hours of body worn camera footage a day.

In addition to some law clerks, Mosby says she has four assistant state's attorneys looking at all that evidence for potential trials.

Meanwhile, Officer Pinheiro who made the video in question was allowed to testify as a witness in a different case this week. When he took the stand, he denied planting evidence when cross examined by a defense attorney with knowledge of this case.