Baltimore Drops 43 Police Cases After Cops ‘Fake’ Another Bodycam Video (Yes, That Makes 3

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby has iden­ti­fied at least 43 cas­es that will be dis­missed after a police offi­cer basi­cal­ly admit­ted to fak­ing a police video, leav­ing many peo­ple won­der­ing, “Damn, are there any crim­i­nals in Baltimore, or are B‑more cops out on the streets mak­ing their own episodes of The Wire every day?”

To be fair, the state’s attorney’s office did not describe the video as “faked.” It also did not use the word “admit­ted” in describ­ing the officer’s actions. In its words, one of Baltimore’s finest “self-report­ed” an inci­dent that looked like the cop had found evi­dence, only it was, in fact, a “re-enact­ment of the seizure of evi­dence,” accord­ing to the Baltimore Sun. Seems legit, right?

In July, pros­e­cu­tors released a video show­ing Police Officer Richard Pinheiro hid­ing a bag of alleged drugs in a back­yard, walk­ing into an alley, turn­ing his cam­era on and then “dis­cov­er­ing” the ille­gal sub­stances. Pinheiro was sus­pend­ed pend­ing fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion, and the two cops with him were placed on admin­is­tra­tive duty. The inci­dent forced the state to drop 68 cas­es and review anoth­er 133.

A few weeks lat­er, a sec­ond video emerged of offi­cers search­ing a man’s car but find­ing noth­ing. The offi­cers then turned their cam­eras on and mirac­u­lous­ly found drugs in the same car. The state post­poned 44 cas­es and are review­ing anoth­er 170 cas­es in which those three offi­cers were involved.

In both cas­es, Police Commissioner Ken Davis said he was inves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the offi­cers legit­i­mate­ly dis­cov­ered the drugs but decid­ed to reen­act the dis­cov­er­ies because …umm … well, he didn’t actu­al­ly explain that part.

Commissioner Davis also did not men­tion how any cit­i­zen is sup­posed to trust the Baltimore Police Department ever again. He also did not com­ment on the thou­sands of peo­ple who might be in jail on trumped-up charges. Also not men­tioned is why the offi­cers thought they need­ed to “re-enact” find­ing evi­dence when they didn’t have video evi­dence for the 260 years before body cam­eras.

Some spec­u­late that offi­cers are fak­ing videos because they are under pres­sure to ful­fill arrest quo­tas. WJZ in Baltimore reports it found an inter­nal memo that warns offi­cers that they need to “make sta­tis­tics, car stops and pro­duce war­rants.” The memo goes on to say that the depart­ment will col­lect these stats every two hours to make sure offi­cers are per­form­ing.

Police spokesman T.J. Smith said of the lat­est alle­ga­tions regard­ing what is now a third video: “This is not an alle­ga­tion of plant­i­ng evi­dence. This is a self-report­ed sit­u­a­tion where the offi­cer felt that it deserved more scruti­ny based on the things that have been in the news. … This is a good prob­lem to have when you are self-report­ing.”