34 Cases Dismissed After Video Allegedly Exposed Cop Planting Drugs
Footage taken in January allegedly shows an officer "finding" drugs that video had just shown him plant in a Baltimore alley.
Dozens of cases have been dropped and more than 100 others are under review after bodycam footage out of Baltimore was purported to show an officer planting evidence at the scene of an alleged crime.
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced the dismissals of 34 drug and firearms cases Friday. Each one involved either the officer accused of planting drugs in a Baltimore alley last January or the officers present, who are accused of watching the alleged misconduct without intervening or reporting it.
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Around 123 cases are also still under review after the bodycam footage emerged and was made public earlier this month by the public defender's office.
All the cases that have been or will be dismissed are those that relied solely on the accounts of the officers in question, Mosby said at a Friday news conference.
"Where these officers are material and necessary witnesses, we are dismissing those cases, which rely exclusively on the credibility of these officers," she said.
One officer has been suspended and two others are on desk duty while an internal investigation is conducted.
A message left with the law firm that represents members of Baltimore's Fraternal Order of Police, who are under criminal investigation, was not immediately returned early Monday.
In the footage, public defender Debbie Katz Levi says a member of the Baltimore Police Department can be seen in the alleged act of planting drugs as captured in the 30 seconds before an officer actually hits the record button, but without audio.
Once the record button is pressed and audio starts, the officer is allegedly seen returning to a spot where three other officers had just been standing.
The officer can then be seen picking up a can and pulling a baggie full of pills from it. It appears to be the same can the pills had been placed inside moments before.
"The body camera video shows three officers — one hiding and then “finding” what appears to be drugs while two other officers look on and take no action," the public defender's office said in a statement.
An assistant public defender, who represented the person charged with the planted drugs, forwarded the video to the State’s Attorney’s Office last week.
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"Officer misconduct has been a pervasive issue at the Baltimore Police Department, which is exacerbated by the lack of accountability," said Katz Levi, head of the Baltimore Public Defender’s Special Litigation Section.
"We have long supported the use of police body cameras to help identify police misconduct, but such footage is meaningless if prosecutors continue to rely on these officers, especially if they do so without disclosing their bad acts.”
Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Kevin Davis called the situation "serious allegation of police misconduct."
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