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Baltimore Police Commissioner Had To Tell Department Not To Stage Crimes

Courtesy Baltimore Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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The commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) felt compelled to order officers not to stage or “recreate” footage taken by their body cameras Tuesday, due to two recent alleged incidents of agents orchestrating crime scenes.

Kevin Davis, the lead law enforcement official at the BPD, urgently advised his crew through a memorandum, which was first reported by Kevin Rector of The Baltimore Sun.

“In light of recent events, you are reminded to activate your body worn camera at the initiation of a call for service or other activity that is investigative or enforcement-related (e.g. crime scene, car stop, or pedestrian stop),” the memo reads. “In the event your body worn camera is not activated during the recovery of evidence, under no circumstances shall you attempt to recreate the recovery of evidence after re-activating your body worn camera.”

The “recent events” the memo alludes to include a situation in which a BPD officer shown in a body cam video can be seen reportedly planting drug evidence within a soup can at the scene of a purported crime. The officer walks away after placing the drugs to meet up with two of his fellow agents.

“I’m going to check over there,” the officer said in an apparently premeditated manner.

A still image captured from police body camera video appears to show a Baltimore police officer holding a small plastic bag filled with capsules which were filled with heroin powder in the arrest report, 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

A still image of body cam footage. Courtesy Baltimore Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

Courtesy Baltimore Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

The video was filmed in January, but wasn’t revealed to the public until mid-July. Prosecutors are dismissing 41 drug and gun-related cases connected to the three officers involved, according to Ars Technica.  (RELATED: WATCH: Baltimore Police Officer Plants Drugs On Crime Scene)

Another video disclosed and reported on Tuesday by The Baltimore Sun seems to show different officers manufacturing evidence, according to the defendant’s attorney. After searching through the driver’s side door and much of the car, one officer doesn’t find anything. But then a second officer who reportedly hadn’t searched the car yet approaches the vehicle and discovers a bag of drugs almost immediately.

The Baltimore state’s attorney office dropped all charges against the defendant in this case as well. (RELATED: Activists Suspect Baltimore Police Illegally Use Cellphone Trackers)

Police departments’ utilization of body cameras has been steadily growing in recent years as discrepancies in law enforcement-civilian confrontations — which often turn deadly — have increased. So far, there seems to be only one other incident in which a police officer tried to stage a crime while a body camera was employed. Nevertheless, the body cameras may be helping to solve exactly what they were designed for: fighting police corruption.

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