BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP)– New information about another body camera video from the Baltimore Police Department is under investigation for possibly showing police tampering with evidence.
According to charging documents, the incident happened last November in Southeast Baltimore. Police said they were conducting a covert drug investigation when they searched a car.
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby first revealed its existence last week.
“An additional video raised concerns for one of our prosecutors,” Mosby said in a press conference.
Officers said the search was all captured on body-worn cameras.
The Office of the Public Defender reviewed what it described as a series of videos that show a thorough search of a car where officers found nothing until turning their cameras back off and on again after 30 minutes of being off.
The public defender’s office won’t release the video, but describes the investigation as the following:
“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. 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.
“A good defense attorney is going to argue why was there that gap in time, and why did the cameras go back on just before they found the biggest piece of evidence. You can imagine the doubt that might engender in a jury,” said legal analyst Adam Ruther.
Prosecutors dropped charges against one of two people arrested in the case. The woman whose charges were said she hired a lawyer for a possible civil lawsuit.
Seven officers are named in court records involving her case, but only two have been referred to Internal Affairs and that’s raising concern.
“What’s most concerning in this particular video, is it appears officers are working in concert with each other,” said Debbie Katz Levi for the Office of the Public Defender.
Mosby dismissed charges in 34 cases relying on the testimony of three other officers after the Office of the Public Defender released a different video they said shows an officer planting drugs. That officer is suspended and two others are on administrative duty.
Separately, seven other Baltimore officers on a gun crimes task force are accused of faking reports and false detentions.