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Body camera video allegedly shows Baltimore cop planting evidence

Officer accused of planting evidence
Posted at 7:41 PM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 06:35:30-04

Body camera footage released by the Officer of the Public Defender shows a Baltimore officer walking into an alley and discovering a bag of heroin. If you rewind the footage 30 seconds before that, the same officer appears to hide the bag in a coke can. Defense attorneys are accusing the officer of planting evidence.

Regardless of what the officers are actually doing in the now famous clip, it is not sitting well with city residents.

"We look to officers with respect," said Lamont Davis of Baltimore. "Then we see videos like that with all the current bad things that we're hearing. We're fearful."

"For officers to be that way, they're not trustful and they don't need to be police officers," said city resident Cathy Marshall.

RELATED: Public defender claims body-cam footage shows Baltimore police officer planting drugs

"Perception is reality. So, if our community thinks there are police officers who are planting evidence during the course of their duty, that is something that will certainly keep me up at night," said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.

On Wednesday, Davis released three other body camera clips released from the same January drug bust. He said the footage shows that the officers did witness a drug deal, did make two arrests, did search the alley and did find heroin. It's only the last series of events that remains a mystery and has launched an internal investigation.

Davis said police are looking into whether the officer, for some reason, recreated the heroin discovery for the camera, and also, why the body camera was turned off for about five minutes.

"Why were the cameras turned off and turned back on? I don't know right now," he said. "Is that something that we're going to explore and find out exactly why? You bet." 

The Officer of the Public Defender identified the officer in the clip as Richard Pinheiro. Police said that officer was suspended of police powers. The other two officers in the clip were placed on administrative leave, according to Baltimore Police.

The State's Attorney's office said it acted quickly after discovering the "troubling" footage and released this statement:

"Our office immediately implemented established protocols to not only refer this matter to the internal affairs division of the Baltimore Police Department but began identifying active cases involving these officers."