Public Defender Says Police Officer Can Be Seen Planting Drugs In Body Camera Footage

Body camera footage prompted an internal investigation into a police officer that placed drugs in a tin can and planted it in a lot littered with trash, leading to a drug arrest.

The video footage shows a police officer planting the drugs, walking away from the lot and then turning on his body camera.

“I’m gonna go check here,” the officer said. The officer returned to the lot and retrieved the tin can. He removed the drugs – white capsules in a plastic bag – from the can.

maryland officer pinheiro

Police cameras are designed to save 30 seconds of video without audio before activation. In this case, the officer is seen in the alley, but for the first 30 second there is no audio.

The officer has been identified as Officer Richard Pinheiro. There were also two other officers in the video, but prosecutors have not mentioned the role they played in the incident.

“We take allegations like this very seriously and that’s why we launched an internal investigation into the accusations,” said T.J. Smith, Police Department spokesman. “We are fortunate to have body-worn cameras which provide a perspective of the event.”

Police are scheduled to hold a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the video.

After the video was flagged, prosecutors dropped the charges against the man arrested in January in connection with the drugs. According to attorney Deborah Levi, the man was unable to pay a $50,000 bail, so he had been in jail since his arrest.

The public defender’s office said Officer Pinheiro is a witness in 53 other active criminal cases.

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