For decades, allegations have been made about police planting evidence on innocent people to arrest them. Thanks to body cameras, the Baltimore police department might have been caught doing that not once, but twice.
CNN reported on the second incident and posted the video. Claims of planting evidence were brought forth by Baltimore’s public defender’s office. CNN believes that the 16 videos they reviewed weren’t conclusive enough to prove that evidence was planted. However, it was enough for the prosecutors to drop the case in question.
The videos show a traffic stop where police tell a woman that they smell marijuana in the car and that they’re going to handcuff her. She responds that they haven’t shown any evidence of marijuana. The police thoroughly searched the car for over a half hour. Then an officer is seen near a compartment for a few seconds, waits for a bit, then calmly ask if anyone has checked that area.
Inside the compartment was the alleged planted evidence. While the woman did appear to admit on camera that she smoked marijuana before getting into the car, the bag also contained heroin and other drugs. Officers did find a small amount of marijuana in a jacket pocket, but it was only enough for a civil fine according to Baltimore law.
Thanks to the allegedly planted evidence, they arrested her for felony distribution. The spokesperson for the public defender’s office didn’t know if they charged the driver for the marijuana they did find.
There was also some suspicious talk between the officers about whether they should turn on the body cameras or not.
In the first incident, the cameras clearly show officers hiding a bag of drugs inside of a food can under debris, leaving the scene, then coming back and “finding” the can. The cases involving those officers have either been dismissed or are under investigation.
The Baltimore police department has shown a history of bending or breaking the law for their own benefit and for racially discriminating against African Americans. Justice Department studies found widespread prejudice within the department. These body camera videos are just further proof that more work should be done.
These incidents must be revealed to the public so that they can demand change. Officers who participate or condone these acts must be punished in accordance with the law. We have been helping citizens who are victims of police brutality for decades and we will continue to do so. We hope that the internal investigation uncovers the full truth and that justice is served.
Citizens expect the police to act within the confines of the law. It is the role of a police officer to protect and serve citizens according to the law. However, when that power is abused or corrupted, citizens have little recourse except to call on lawyers to lawfully demonstrate wrongdoing and demand justice for the people.