Tag Archives: bodycam

Second Body Cam Video of Baltimore Police Planting Drugs Then “Finding” Them Has Surfaced

Baltimore Police Department Planting Drugs Video

For the second time in a matter of weeks, body camera footage has been released showing officers from the Baltimore Police Department planting drugs. In both videos, the planting of that evidence was exposed by a feature of the body cams that causes them to begin saving video thirty seconds prior to the point where they are manually activated. This video is from November 2016, while the earlier one dates from January of this year.

In this latest video to surface, police were conducting a traffic stop in which they were profiling drivers in an effort to make drug arrests. After claiming to have seen the passenger in Shamere Collins’ vehicle making a drug sale, the police stopped them. However, after a thorough search, no drugs were found anywhere in the car.

The body cam video of that initial search includes audio of one officer stating that there would be “negative consequences” if they didn’t find drugs and thereby couldn’t arrest someone. After that, the cops for no apparent reason all turned their body cameras off.

What followed, according to CBS News.com:

When the cameras come back on, an officer is seen squatting by the driver’s side of the suspect’s car, apparently unaware that he’s being recorded.

He then stands up and steps back. About 30 seconds pass, and another officer approaches the car, then squats down and pulls out a bag of drugs.

Although the charges were thrown out once the public defender representing her got ahold of this video, Collins and her boyfriend, who was the passenger were charged with possession of opiates and marijuana, as a result. According to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, dozens more cases that involve this group of officers could also be thrown out.

Meanwhile, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis maintained that this is no reason for the public to “jump to conclusions” or make “heavy allegations” about police misconduct based on the video. Because concluding that something suspicious was going on after all the cops turned their cameras off right after one of them expressed concerns about getting in trouble if they didn’t find any drugs to justify an arrest, then video (that the cops didn’t expect to be recorded) showing one cop crouching next to the car, followed by body cam video (that they did expect to be recorded) of a different cop easily finding drugs in that same area after it had already been thoroughly searched is quite a jump.

Of course, this also comes on the heals of the previously released video (embedded below), which is even more damning. In that video, Officer Richard Pinheiro can be clearly seen putting a bag inside a can on a pile of debris in an alley. He then walks back out to the street, accompanied by two other officers who have not been named.

After activating the camera, he proceeds to walk back down the alley as one of the unnamed officers can be heard laughing behind him. Miraculously, he manages to quickly zero in on the can shortly after searching through the debris pile. He then pulls out the bag that he unwittingly recorded himself planting to reveal that it is filled with pills.

The man who was arrested as a result spent over seven months in jail awaiting trial before this video was made public and his charges were thrown out. So far, thirty-four other cases have also been thrown out and as many as fifty-five more could be, as well. Officer Pinheiro was (only) suspended for his actions, while the two other officers that watched (and laughed) as he planted evidence have received no punishment at all.

Not Isolated Incidents

These incidents don’t represent the only times that the Baltimore police have been under scrutiny for manufacturing evidence and manipulating body cameras. In March, all seven members of an “elite task force” that targets illegal weapons and drug crimes were indicted on racketeering charges for robberies that included completely innocent people of cash and filing false paperwork to get paid for overtime they didn’t actually work. In the process, they also falsified search warrants to justify detentions and traffic stops against their intended targets. As they were performing these “shake downs,” officers were known to have turned off their body cameras.

Nor is this the first confirmed instance of body camera footage being falsified to show police finding evidence against suspects. In May of this year, charges were dropped against a man in Colorado after a cop in Pueblo admitted he staged a video of himself  finding heroin and a gun in his car. In that case, Officer Seth Jensen claimed that he was merely “reenacting” his legitimate discovery of the evidence.

An “Unintended Consequence” of Transparency?

Given all of that, it’s rather interesting that in the CBS News video embedded below (beginning at about 3:45) correspondent Jeff Pegues characterizes the issue as a “downside of video transparency” and an “unintended consequence” of police wearing body cameras. Apparently, on his planet these type of incidents aren’t an argument for increased scrutiny and transparency, but rather a problem for “police departments that have to defend themselves against this type of policing.”

Obviously, I can’t see any reason we shouldn’t just trust these cops and accept their word. It would be crazy if cops didn’t have the ability to freely plant evidence without being detected and police departments had no incentive to eliminate “this type of policing.” That freedom to just arrest whoever they want and make up a reason undoubtedly would make their tough jobs so much easier.

Watch him throw it into the floorboards

BPD Officer Richard Pinheiro planting drugs

CBS News coverage of  the latest incident:

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Bodycam Video: Nevada Deputy Unnecessarily Shoots Pet Dog; Jokes “Maybe I’ll Get Time Off Now!”

Nye County Nevada Pahrump Dog ShootingOn April 10th, Deputy John Tolle of the Nye County Sheriff’s Office responded to what turned out to be a false panic alarm at a residence in Pahrump, NV. (Located just Northwest of Las Vegas.) Soon after Deputy Tolle entered the fenced in yard of that residence and knocked on the door, he shot the pet dog of the owner. According to Tolle, that dog, a pit bull named Blu, was barking, growling, and attacking him at the time. So, obviously he had no choice but to shoot it.

However, Deputy Tolle was wearing a body camera at the time and the footage from that camera tells a completely different story. While the dog does come running from the back of the house much like any dog would when a stranger enters its yard, it never appears to attack Tolle or even try to on the video. Rather than charging toward him “full on, growling and snarling,” as he described, the dog’s action would more properly be described as a quick jog without any sort of aggression being shown at all.

In addition to the discrepancies in Tolle’s description of the shooting of the dog, the body camera footage also highlights numerous issues with the way he responded to the call from the start. Had Deputy Tolle followed proper procedure regarding those issues, he would have never been in a position to shoot Blu in the first place. Among other things, Tolle never tried to contact the owner, Gary Miller, prior to entering the gate of the fence surrounding the yard. Nor does he check first to find out if there is a dog within that yard. Both of those precautions would have prevented any perceived confrontation with Blu from happening.

Furthermore, once the dog was approaching Deputy Tolle he never attempted to use any non lethal deterrents prior to shooting it. As of 2015, state mandated (NRS 289.595) law enforcement training is required to include a course on how to handle situations involving encounters with dogs. Part of that training is that non-lethal methods, such as tasers, batons, or mace, be used prior to resorting to deadly force. Tolle had every one of those options available at the time and never even attempted to use them. There was even enough time after the dog had initially barked for Tolle to simply walk back out of the gate, had he chose to do so. Instead, he just shot the dog and then lied about it attacking him to try and justify having done so.

This video is also pretty telling in relation to the mindset and attitudes of the officers involved. Beyond the simple act of unnecessarily killing the dog and then lying to rationalize it, Deputy Tolle’s body camera also caught a few other things afterwards. First, as an unnamed detective and Tolle’s supervisor, Sergeant Deutsch, discuss the shooting with him, they can be heard making disparaging remarks about Miller and joking about him being angry because his dog was shot.

Deputy Tolle really takes the cake when he is informed that he will have to fill out a “use of force” form for the incident. His response is to break out in laughter and state, “Maybe I’ll get time off now!” It’s almost like getting a free paid vacation is in the forefront of police officers’ minds when they kill.

In the end, the Nye County Sheriff’s Office quickly cleared Deputy Tolle after assigning him to take a 24 hour training course (that presumably teaches cops not to murder non-threatening dogs). Meanwhile, Gary Miller was disrespected even more when the animal shelter cremated his beloved pet without even notifying him first. They then added insult to injury later when they brought him ashes that they claimed were Blu’s, but that were in fact not from his dog. (It’s not clear where the “fake ashes” actually came from. However, unlike Tolle, the animal control officer responsible has been suspended, as a result.)

Full Unedited Body Camera Video

Local News Coverage

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Winslow Police Officer Austin Shipley, Who Shot Native American Woman Loreal Tsingine, Has Resigned

Winslow Police Shooting Loreal Tsingine Austin Shipley

On March 27th, Winslow Police Officer Austin Shipley shot Loreal Tsingine after he and his partner responded to a shoplifting complaint in the Arizona city. Officer Shipley testified that he was “forced” to shoot Tsingine five times after she attacked him with a pair of scissors.

In April, CopBlock Network contributor Brian Sumner posted about the shooting and the many questions members of Tsingine’s Navajo tribe and other indigenous tribes, as well as other activists had about the necessity of shooting her. Also, in July, I posted the body camera video (embedded below) of the shooting, which only raised more questions when it indicated that she was only “armed” with very small medical scissors and hadn’t actually raised her arms prior to being shot.

Although, the Maricopa County Prosecutor indicated upon releasing the body cam video that they would not be charging Officer Austin Shipley with a crime in relation to Tsingine’s shooting, it has now been reported that he has “decided to resign.”

Via 12News.com, the local NBC affiliate:

Winslow police officer Austin Shipley resigned from his position Monday, according to the Winslow Police Department.

Shipley shot 27-year-old Loreal Tsingine five times near a shop in Winslow in March, killing her.

An internal affairs investigation on the shooting performed by the Mesa Police Department was concluded last week.

According to Winslow PD, the results were reviewed by the department’s interim director, Christopher Vasquez, who met with Shipley Monday.

Shipley then decided to resign.

Documents from the investigation have not yet been made public.

This obviously raises even more questions about the shooting and whether it was necessary for two police officers to shoot a small woman. Not the least of which is whether Shipley will simply go to another police department and get hired as a cop once again after the attention dies down. Although Shipley has a well documented history of complaints, including excessive force complaints, it has been shown quite clearly that the Good Cops running police departments around the country have no trouble overlooking such behavior by Bad Apples and rehiring them, regardless of previous misconduct.

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Body Camera Footage of Loreal Tsingine Shooting Released by Winslow Police

On July 22nd, the Maricopa County Prosecutor announced that no charges would be filed against Officer Austin Shipley in the shooting death of Loreal Tsingine.

Now the Winslow Police Department, who Shipley works for, has released the bodycam footage of that fatal encounter. Although several news outlets were given the full video of the shooting, the portion of the video that was released to the general public ends just prior to the actual shooting of Tsingine by Shipley.

A short audio clip was also included at the end, which was recorded (presumably by the body camera) after the shooting and depicts Shipley’s reaction to having shot Tsingine. Without any explanation, the beginning of the video prior to the shooting has the audio removed. Some additional audio consisting of Shipley explaining to another officer why he shot Tsingine (“I did what I had to do!”) can be heard in this news report. (It is also embedded below.)

Even before the release of the video, this shooting had caused plenty of controversy. Among other things, members of the Navajo Nation, to which Tsingine belonged, as well as other indigenous tribal members, have questioned the amount of shootings by police of Native Americans. Statistically, Native Americans are the most common victims per capita of any demographic group of police violence.

There have also been questions regarding the dismissive behavior of the police toward witnesses and claims of refusal to give medical care to Tsingine immediately after the shooting. One of those witnesses, Ryanle Benally, made this statement to 12News.com:

Benally ran to the scene and said he was offering to help Tsingine.

“I told the officer, “I know CPR, I can help her,” but he told me step back, sir, and he pushed me,” he said.

Benally said he stayed at the scene and told a Winslow [olice officer he witnessed the shooting and wanted to make a statement, but the officer did not act.

A short while later, Benally said he approached a Navajo County Sheriff’s officer and told him he was a witness. That officer brought over an officer with the Winslow Police Department who, Benally said, took down his information and said he would contact him soon.

Hours later, Benally said he had not heard from the police department and called to ask about making a statement, but was told over the phone that all officers were busy at the moment.

A fourth attempt was made several hours later when Benally made another phone call to the department, but a statement was never taken.

Additionally questions have arisen about Officer Shipley’s history of excessive force complaints during his three years with the Winslow Police Dept. and accusations of dishonesty in describing the circumstances surrounding previous use of force incidents. According to NativeNewsOnline.net, that history included:

  • Officer Austin Shipley Winslow PDThe Winslow police officer once fired a Taser at a 15-year-old girl as she walked away from him.
  • He once Tased a drunk cuffed to a hospital bed.
  • He dragged a DUI suspect out of her car by her hair.
  • He justified his conduct in one instance in a report that an investigator found “simply inaccurate.”

Here is an account in the newspaper’s article:

“Shipley’s narrative that the subject on the ground ‘got back in a manner as if they wanted to fight back’ is clearly inaccurate,” the investigating officer wrote. “In observation, they were not acting in an aggressive manner, even after his arrival and were not involved in any verbal exchanges.”

What is most disturbing is Shipley received only a one-day suspension for his misconduct.

The newly released video brings with it new questions of why it would have been necessary to shoot Tsingine. Even taking into account the fact she had a (small) pair of scissors in her hand, Shipley already had his gun out and ready to use (obviously) at the time and there was still distance between them. (The “21 foot rule” is often incorrectly characterized as an authorization to open fire at will. In reality, it actually states that if someone is within that distance you should have your gun out and aimed at the subject in preparation. And that applies to an actual edged weapon. What she was holding was a pair of medical scissors, which it would be a huge stretch to classify as a real weapon, as you can see by the photo.)

Medical Scissors

This is the “dangerous weapon” she was brandishing.

In addition, the fact there is another cop approaching behind Tsingine at the time brings into question why two men of significantly larger size couldn’t control her in the first place. The other officer is close enough to her at the time Shipley fired five shots at Tsingine that reportedly he can be seen diving out of the way on the full video once the shooting begins.

Members of the Navajo Tribe, as well as other anti-police brutality activists in and around Winslow, have already questioned the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Tsingine. Several protests have been held already and the combination of the prosecutor’s announcement that no charges would be filed against Shipley and the release of this video ensure that more questions and protests will follow.

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