In mid-July, we reported that several Baltimore police officers were busted planting drugs in order to make an arrest. The body cameras showed the officers’ nefarious scheme that led to an innocent person being charged with a crime.
Just a few weeks later, more footage from body cameras reveals another set of officers planting drugs in order to make an arrest. And you wonder why people are having problems trusting police officers?
The Baltimore Sun reports that the footage was released by Josh Insley, a defense attorney whose client was arrested on drug charges last November. The video brought up concerns about the validity of the accusation, and the charges were dropped.
Insley’s client, Shamere Collins, 35, was arrested on Nov. 29, 2016 after police stopped her vehicle after observing a passenger conducting what officers believed was a drug deal, according to case records. After stopping the vehicle, police said they smelled marijuana, searched the car, and recovered heroin and marijuana. Charges were filed against Collins and the passenger.
The insidious nature of this “investigation” was revealed when the public defender made the footage public; that was after the charges were dropped.
On Tuesday, it provided a fuller description, saying the footage — which is a series of body-camera videos — shows multiple officers thoroughly searching a car, including the driver’s area, and then turning their cameras off and back on in an unexplained way.
“When the cameras come back on one officer is seen squatting by the driver’s seat area. The group of officers then wait approximately 30 seconds,” the public defender’s office stated. “Shortly thereafter, another officer asks if the area by that compartment has been searched. Nobody responds, and the officer reaches in and locates a bag that appears to contain drugs right by where the prior officer was, and where the car had been thoroughly searched about a half an hour prior with absolutely no results.”
Watch the body camera footage below:
The officers are now being investigated for this incident, and rightly so. The city of Baltimore is currently caught up in a new wave of violent crime. Already, there have been 205 homicides in Baltimore in 2017.
It’s gotten so bad that one community activist has tried to establish a “Nobody Kill Anybody” weekend just for a single time period in which there are no murders.
The police department has been trying to get the crime wave under control, but I can assure you that planting evidence and creating crimes is not going to stop the bleeding. If anything, it will exacerbate tensions between the community and police department, as more people fear being framed for crimes that they did not commit.
These officers, just like the officers in our previous report, are contributing to the rise in violent crime, because by tainting this investigation, their credibility in any other is also tainted. Murderers may be released because a conviction may not be obtainable without credible witness testimony.
Such actions like this cannot be tolerated. Officers who see this kind of misbehavior and abuse of citizens must report this to prosecutors, and the abusers should be locked up. There is simply no excuse for planting evidence and framing innocent people from crimes they did not commit, end of story.