A Baltimore Grand Jury has indicted a ninth Baltimore police officer on corruption charges after footage emerged of him planting drugs on a crime scene in July, CNN reported Thursday.
Officer Richard Pinheiro, 29, is one of nine former officers to be indicted on racketeering or evidence tampering charges throughout the past year. The rash of corruption scandals culminated this week with the firing of Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, as well as the resignation of two of his top subordinates. Pinheiro maintains that he did nothing wrong and was merely re-enacting the recovery of drugs for his body camera, CNN reported.
“Officer Pinheiro simply tried to document the recovery of evidence with his body-worn camera that he had previously recovered,” Pinheiro’s attorney Michael Davey told the Baltimore Sun. “This is just another overreach by the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office, and an attempt to prosecute a police officer when there’s no evidence to do so.”
Supporting Pinheiro’s claim is the fact that the practice of re-enacting crime scenes was rampant within the BPD before former-Commissioner Davis ordered officers to stop in August. Pinheiro would be the second officer specifically convicted of planting drugs, however, as his former colleague Wayne Earl Jenkins, 37, was indicted in early December. (RELATED: WATCH: Baltimore Officer Plants Heroin On Crime Scene)
The other seven officers were members of the Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF). Former Detective Maurice Ward testified against the group Tuesday, saying the GTTF would routinely carry BB guns in their vehicles just in case they needed to plant one on a crime scene. Ward testified to other shocking acts of corruption by the GTTF as well.
They’d regularly drive fast at a larger group of people, slam brakes and pop their doors to see who ran, then detain and search them. They had no reason other than trying to provoke someone. 10-20 times on slow nights, as many as 50 times others, he said
— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) January 23, 2018
The federal investigations led Mayor Catherine Pugh to fire Davis and replace him with Deputy Commissioner Darryl De Sousa last week.
“Crime is now spilling out all over the city, and we’ve got to focus. I am charging De Sousa and his staff to get on top of it to reduce the numbers and to reduce them quickly,” Pugh said at a news conference. “The fact is, we are not achieving the pace of progress that our residents have every right to expect in the weeks since we ended what was nearly a record year for homicides in the city of Baltimore.”
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