BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is defending her office for how it handled cases involving a Baltimore officer accused of planting evidence.
The public defender says the video shows the officer planting drugs, putting a man in jail for months. It also raised questions about almost 100 other cases involving the three officers at the scene that day.
WJZ was there exclusively as members of the Public Defender’s Office went back to the scene to look for more evidence, including that can where they say the officer planted the drugs back in January.
“I don’t see the famous can,” said one public defender as he searched the alley.
Their client spent seven months behind bars before prosecutors dropped the case, thanks to body camera video that has police and prosecutors under fire.
It shows an officer apparently putting drugs in a can, before walking to the street – and only then does he turn on his camera – but the body camera records video 30 seconds before it’s turned on.
At that 30 second mark, you can here laughter as the officer heads back to where he just placed the can and announces the discovery.
Tonette Jefferson lives next door.
[Reporter: When you found out it happened right here?] “I was shocked,” she said.
[Reporter: What’s your opinion of the police department?] “It’s not a good one,” said Jefferson. “I’m not saying that it’s all cops, but it puts a black shadow over the whole department.”
State’s Attorney Mosby is facing criticism after her office allowed the officer seen in the video to testify in a drug case days after being notified about the video.
So why did prosecutors ever call the officer to testify in another case?
“At the end of the day, we were in the process of pulling these cases at the same time that this case came in,” Mosby said. “The protocols that are in place are sufficient.”
“We don’t want to make allegations against police officers unless we carefully review the material,” said Jan Bledsoe, with the State’s Attorney’s Office.
The Public Defenders Office says Mosby sidestepped constitutional obligations in an investigation that has now put almost 100 cases in jeopardy.
“If it’s a problem, or, you know, there’s an issue within a case, I believe that my prosecutors will look into it,” Mosby said.
“We’re only looking at what we saw, and it really hurts trust because you think that they’re lying or they’re setting people up,” Jefferson said. “I don’t have a lot of trust in the police right now.”
What happened in that alley is going to have implications for some time to come.
The Baltimore Police Department have already dealt with a scandal involving seven officers from an elite gun unit who were accused of robbing people and planting evidence.
Two of them are set to be in court Friday.