BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office is forced to stop pursuing more than 30 gun and drug cases after a police officer’s questionable behavior.
Ava-joye Burnett has more on the fallout after an officer was seen on camera, possibly planting evidence.
The State’s Attorney announced they reviewed more than 100 cases and ultimately had to drop 34 cases which had felony drug and handgun charges attached to them.
Police body camera video captured back something in January so concerning, it prompted an investigation.
A Baltimore Police officer appears to plant drug evidence and then turns on the camera. But it was actually recording for 30 seconds prior to that moment, while his partners watched on.
On Friday, the State’s Attorney’s office announced it had to drop 34 felony weapon and drug cases, involving the officers.
“Clearly there is a credibility issue that’s impacting other cases, and so, that’s essentially what we are here to report,” says Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
The public defender’s office told WJZ, they had no heads up about the State’s Attorney’s announcement and they only found out through the media.
It was the Public Defender’s office that first found the video and flagged it for review.
“Any case that involves these officers could be questioned and needs to be questioned. Our speculation is that the prosecutors are bascially dropping what’s the lowest hanging fruit, they ones that they absolutely know that they are not going to be able to make a case on,” says Melissa Rothstein, with the Public Defender’s Office.
It’s been a year and a half since Baltimore Police started using body cameras and the departments acknowledge this opened them up to more scrutiny.
The department says it’s still investigating this incident and since the inception of the program, officers have been trained, counseled and even disciplined.
One man’s son had a case involving one of the officers. He told WJZ his son spent months in jail. Prosecutors eventually dismissed the gun and drug charges.
“There are a lot of cases and you have a lot of innocent people who got locked up. So what is the state going do about this? Is they going to reward the people that they got locked up for nothing?” says Eric Rich.
One of the officers involved was suspended, two others were placed on desk duty during the investigation. That state’s attorney’s office also announced today there is yet another video that they are investigating.
Even though more than 30 cases were dropped, the State’s Attorney’s office belive it has enough evidence to continue with 12 cases. Charges against the suspect involved in the initial video have been dropped.