A Baltimore police officer has been suspended after he appeared to accidently record himself committing a major crime.
According to NBC News, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender released body cam footage that allegedly shows officer Richard Pinheiro planting drugs during an investigation. Defense lawyers say the 90-second clip shows the cop going into a Baltimore alley and placing a bag of pills inside a pile of trash. Pinheiro is then seen returning the sidewalk with two other officers, before he turns on his cam and returns to the alley to “find” the drugs he was handling moments before.
Gizmodo reports the officer was likely unaware of the camera’s “buffering” mode, which allows the device to record up to 30 seconds of footage before it is manually activated.
"This is a serious allegation of police misconduct," Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said, as reported by NBC News. "There is nothing that deteriorates the trust of any community more than thinking for one second that police officers...would plant evidence of crimes on citizens."
The suspect who was arrested in connection to the drugs was scheduled to appear in court this week; however, the prosecutor dropped all charges after the defendant’s legal team provided the footage that was captured back in January.
On Wednesday, the Baltimore Police Department released additional videos connected to the drug arrest. The extended footage shows officers searching the same area minutes before, and discovering another bag of what appeared to be heroin. Authorities said they are trying to determine if Pinheiro actually planted the drugs or was recreating the discovery for the body cam. Officials said both scenarios are inappropriate.
In addition to Pinheiro’s suspension, the other two officers have been placed on “nonpublic contact.”