Dozens of cases have been dropped since the emergence of two body cam videos showing Baltimore cops seemingly manufacturing evidence.
The controversy started last month, when a video released by the Baltimore public defender’s office appeared to show an officer, standing by two others, dropping a bag of drugs in a yard. The officer who dropped the drugs was put on leave while the two others were placed on administrative duty.
The video led to an announcement last week that 34 cases involving testimony from the three officers had been dropped. The New York Times reports that number has since climbed to 41, with 55 cases still under review and 27 set to continue.
This week, the same office released another bombshell when it said in a statement Monday that it had obtained another body cam video, which it has not released, but “that appears to depict multiple officers working together to manufacture evidence.” The second video involves seven officers who are not the same as those in the first. Prosecutors, according to the Times, are planning to halt cases using testimony from two of the officers. Meanwhile, the case related to the second video has been dropped.
The incidents have once again brought attention to the use of police body cams, and will likely continue to do so as more as cases are reviewed, and possibly dropped. “The lack of transparency to the public and refusal to disclose to the defense both prejudices defendants and violates the prosecutor’s constitutional obligations,” a Baltimore public defender’s office staff member said in Monday’s statement. “Hundreds of individuals are awaiting trial on cases that rely on these officers, and hundreds more have likely been convicted based on their testimony.”