According to the Baltimore Public Defender’s Office, the latest video “appears to depict multiple officers working together to manufacture evidence” during a traffic stop on November 29, 2016. In the footage, several police officers can be seen searching a car they’d supposedly suspected of being involved in a drug deal. After finding nothing under the driver’s side area, the cameras are turned off. When they are turned on again, the officers searching the driver’s side area again almost immediately discover a bag that they claim contains drugs.
Two people were arrested and charged as a result of the search; those charges have since been dropped.
Of the seven officers involved in the incident, two have been referred to the BPD’s Internal Affairs department, the Public Defender’s Office said in a statement.
The released footage comes just weeks after a similar incident was caught on a BPD body camera, in which an entirely different group of officers appeared to place—and subsequently “find”—drugs in an abandoned lot. Charges stemming from that arrest were also dismissed, and at least one officer was suspended.
Police spokesman T.J. Smith addressed the latest revelation, saying simply that, “Anytime an allegation of misconduct is made, we take it seriously and investigate it fully.”
Following this second instance of suspicious body camera footage, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis released a memo to the department, reminding officers that, “In the event your body worn camera is not activated during the recovery of evidence, under no circumstances shall you attempt to recreate the recovery of evidence after re-activating your body worn camera.”