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More video emerges of Baltimore police staging evidence - prosecutors
August 21, 2017 / 7:44 PM / 3 months ago

More video emerges of Baltimore police staging evidence - prosecutors

(Reuters) - More body-worn camera footage that shows Baltimore police officers apparently staging the discovery of evidence has emerged, city prosecutors said on Monday, in the third such episode to become public in recent weeks.

FILE PHOTO - A still image captured from police body camera video appears to show two Baltimore police officers look on as a colleague places a small plastic bag in a trash-strewn yard (not shown) according to the Maryland Office of the Public Defender in this image released in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. on July 19, 2017. Courtesy Baltimore Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

In the previous two episodes, video showed officers apparently placing illegal drugs at crime scenes.

The Baltimore Police Department said it was investigating charges that some officers were planting drugs to frame innocent people. But Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has also said he could not rule out that the officers were wrongly staging more cleanly shot “re-enactments” of drugs actually found at the scene.

The latest video to came to light was “self-reported as a re-enactment of the seizure of evidence” by the police department, the office of the state’s attorney for Baltimore said in a statement. The police department did not respond to questions on Monday.

That video has not been made public, and the statement did not say if the third episode also involved drugs, nor did it say how many officers were involved. The officers are witnesses in about 100 cases, both ongoing and closed, that are being reexamined by prosecutors.

So far, 43 active cases have been dismissed, another 22 will proceed as planned, while about 36 closed cases will be reviewed for problems.

Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney, said in the statement she had told her prosecutors to dismiss any cases where the officers are “material witnesses whose testimony is essential to the successful prosecution.”

Earlier this month, the police department suspended seven officers after body camera video emerged that the city’s public defender said appeared to show them planting drugs in a car during a traffic stop, prompting prosecutors to reexamine about 237 other cases involving the officers.

In July, the city’s public defender released video of another incident involving different officers. It appeared to show one of them planting a small bag of capsules in a trash-strewn yard.

Charges against the man arrested in that case were dropped and state prosecutors began examining about 123 other cases involving that officer and two colleagues.

Sixty-eight of those cases have been thrown out so far because they relied on the officers’ credibility, state prosecutors said.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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