Body Cam Footage Appears to Show Baltimore Police Planting Drugs, Again

By MCNS Staff

indexBaltimore police officers are under fire again, for the second time in two weeks, possibly being caught on video planting drugs while on duty.

Another video of police appearing to be planting drugs was released last Tuesday by Josh Insley, a Baltimore defense attorney for Shamere Collins, whose traffic stop and search was at the subject of the police body camera footage.

Officers arrested Collins on November 29, 2016 after a traffic stop in which they said that they said someone on the passenger side of the vehicle appeared to be engaging in drug sale activity according to case records. After approaching the car, they stated that they smelled marijuana. The officers then searched the vehicle and said they recovered bags of heroin as well as marijuana. As a result of this claim, Collins was charged with felony distribution of narcotics.

“Those drugs were not in that car when we were pulled out, the state dismissed the case against me and my attorneys are reviewing the tapes to see what steps to take next,” Collins said in a statement. “I think they put something in my car,” Collins told NBC News.

Three separate police body camera videos of the incident may support her claim.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the existence of the footage was first made public by the office of the Baltimore public defender, which represented Collins in the criminal case. That office said the video “appears to depict multiple officers working together to manufacture evidence.”

One video, time-stamped at about 11:50 pm, shows an officer searching the driver’s side, including between the seat and console and under the seat. He spends about a minute searching the area and does not find anything.

In a second video, time-stamped about 12:20 am, officers can be seen standing around as one officer asks if anyone had searched the area near the driver’s seat. He begins searching and quickly pulls out a small bag.

In a third video, also time-stamped about 12:20 am, and recorded from the body camera of the officer conducting the search, the officer can be seen pulling the bag from the driver’s seat area, which he suggests contains marijuana and other drugs.

The video, obtained by the Baltimore Sun, was authenticated by the Baltimore Police Department.

Although none of the police in the video have been named, police say that the officer who found the drugs is different from the officer who conducted the initial search, and had a stronger notion of where to look.

The video is the most recent incident that has increased already intensified scrutiny of the Baltimore police department, in a city with high crime rates and questionable police actions like the death of Freddie Gray Jr., who died after a being arrested and transported in the back of a police van. A scathing U.S. Department of Justice report described the Baltimore Police Department as engaging “in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law.” As a result, a federal judge approved a consent decree that mandated sweeping changes to the department.

Two weeks ago, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender released a similar video that showed an officer plant, then later, retrieve drugs in the back yard of a Baltimore residence. The video shows three officers were involved.

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