Bodycam: Officer apparently plants evidence during arrest

Posted at 11:33 AM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 11:33:58-04

BALTIMORE (CNN) - A police officer was suspended after a body camera recording appeared to show him planting evidence during an arrest.

Video from the January arrest of a suspect accused of dealing drugs shows an officer placing a plastic bag into a can and hiding it under debris while two other officers look on.

Later, he said he is going to check the area, at which point he appears to turn on his body camera before announcing that he is going to check the alley.

He then picks up the can and pulls out the bag of drugs.

The video was released by Maryland's Office of the Public Defender.

The officer shown apparently planting the evidence is Officer Richard Pinheiro. Two other officers seen in the video observing Pinheiro are officers Hovhannes Simonyan and Jamal Brunson, The Baltimore Sun said.

One of the three officers in the video was suspended, and the other two were placed on "non-contact" duty, the Sun added.

Charges of felony drug possession have been dropped against the man arrested that day.

The man had been locked up since his January arrest, unable to post a $50,000 bail, attorney Deborah Levi told the Sun.

The Baltimore Police Department launched an investigation.

"Perception is reality," Commissioner Kevin Davis said, WBAL reported. "If the community thinks police officers are planting evidence, I've got to do a bunch of things when allegations surface."

Baltimore's police department made headlines for the death of Freddie Gray, who was critically injured in 2015 during a ride to a police station after his arrest and died a week later of spinal injuries.

The officers involved in transporting Gray faced criminal charges. Though none of the officers were convicted, they still face internal discipline from the police department, the Sun said.

Copyright 2017 CNN. All rights reserved. Raycom News Network contributed to this report.