He had no idea it was being recorded.
Image via Justin Fenton/Twitter.
A Baltimore police officer is in hot water after body-camera footage obtained by local news outlet WBFF went public. Baltimore authorities have accused officer Richard Pinheiro of evidence-tampering after recording showed him allegedly planting drugs at a crime scene.
In the video, Pinheiro hides a baggie of what appears to be crack cocaine in a soup can at a trash-strewn lot. He then leaves the lot and meets up with his fellow officers in an alley. At that point, the sound comes on his body recorder, and he tells his fellow officers, “I’m gonna go check here.” Pinheiro then discovers the crack — that he just hid — in the soup can.
Footage shows officer placing drugs in trash; goes out to street, turns on camera, returns. Cams save 30 sec prior to activation, w/o sound pic.twitter.com/5ZW128lWFM— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) July 19, 2017\n
What Pinheiro forgot to consider is that body cameras record, without sound, for 30 seconds before they’re switched on — which is why the first part of the clip is silent. “We take allegations like this very seriously and that’s why we launched an internal investigation into the accusations,” Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith told The Baltimore Sun. “We are fortunate to have body-worn cameras which provide a perspective of the event.”
The suspect who was allegedly set up by Pinheiro was released and charges dropped after the Baltimore public defender’s office saw the footage. The suspect had been in jail since January after being unable to post $50,000 bail. The footage now calls into question many of Pinheiro’s previous arrests. He is currently a witness in 53 active cases.