With body cameras becoming more and more popular amongst police officers, you’d think cops would be more aware of their behavior and restrain themselves from doing anything controversial. Well, one Baltimore cop tried to get around the body cams and it ended up backfiring.
Last January, Baltimore police officers Richard Pinheiro was recorded on his body camera planting drugs. The video begins with Pinheiro and two other officers in an alley hiding a bang of pills in some trash. The cops then walk back to the sidewalk and Pinheiro turns on his body camera. He then says, “I’m going to check here,” and begins going through the trash where he just planted the drugs.
A reporter from the Baltimore Sun tweeted out the recording from Pinheiro’s body camera:
Footage shows officer placing drugs in trash; goes out to street, turns on camera, returns. Cams save 30 sec prior to activation, w/o sound pic.twitter.com/5ZW128lWFM— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) July 19, 2017
Now, you’re probably wondering how the heck this happened. Apparently police body cameras can begin recording up to 30 seconds before they’re manually activated by the officer. So Pinheiro thought he was in the clear because he turned his camera off after the criminal deed, but he didn’t wait long enough.
The defendant in this case was supposed to go on trial this week, but charges were dropped after his lawyer reviewed the body cam recording and notified the prosecution. The Baltimore Police Department says they’re investigating the incident, and that one officer was suspended and two others put on administrative leave as a result of the video.
Now just imagine if Pinheiro had waited 30 extra seconds to turn on his camera. That’s a scary thought.