Tag Archives: Maryland

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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Annapolis, MD Police Officer James Spearman Threatens and Tries to Intimidate Citizen Legally Filming

The following post and video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Landon Tomsa, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

The following post is fairly self explanatory. The person who submitted it states that they saw an Annapolis City police officer, James Spearman, parked illegally while having some unspecified interaction with a woman. Shortly after, Officer Spearman aggressively approaches Tomsa and begins filming with his own cell phone.

As anyone who has filmed the police knows, this is actually not an unusual reaction by cops. They often project their own displeasure at being filmed onto the people legally filming them and think they’ll  “show them” by filming them back. Generally, Cop Blockers don’t mind being filmed and it amounts to a whole lot of nothing.

However, in the case of Officer Spearman, as can be seen on the video, he acts very aggressively and purposely invades Tomsa’s personal space (something that would get a citizen arrested) in order to harass and intimidate him for exercising his legal right not only to film in public, but as has been affirmed numerous times in court, also to film public employees performing their duties.

Also on the video you can see several “Good Cops,” including Officer Kevin Freeman, show up after being called by Officer Spearman to back up his efforts to stop a citizen from exercising his legal rights. Initially, they remove Spearman from the area and pretend to be sympathetic to Tomsa’s valid complaint. However, when Tomsa begins walking away and Officer Spearman resumes his harassment of him, the other officers somehow don’t seem to notice, since they make no effort to intervene a second time.

Date of Incident: October 10, 2016
Officers Involved: Officer James Spearman Badge #2077, Officer Kevin Freeman, also multiple other officer who didn’t identify themselves.
Department Involved: Annapolis City Police Department
Department Facebook Page: Annapolis Police Department
Department Twitter Account: @AnnapolisPD
Internal Affairs Section:

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

I would just like to start off by saying that my prior interactions with the law enforcement officers of the Great State of Maryland had been pretty good, overall. The Annapolis County Police have given me nothing but respect and even a little help in some situations with my filming of interactions with the police. For some reason though, it seems that the Annapolis City Police Department doesn’t do things quite the same way.

On the morning of October 10th, I got up early and, having the day off, decided to head to the state capital to see what was going on. After walking around for about a half-hour, I came across a police cruiser, which happened to be parked in a loading only zone. I noticed a woman interacting with a police officer, so I decided to film this attraction.

After a while, the woman left and the officer, after sitting in his car for a bit, got out and started approaching me. What transpired next is exactly what you see on the video.

Having pulled out his personal cell phone, he approached me continuously while trying to get a picture of me for some reason. Officer Spearman then chased me down a main thoroughfare in Annapolis about two blocks from where I originally started the interaction.

It was about at this point that other officers started arriving. The arriving officers then separated Officer Spearman and I. A second officer approached me and, as you can see in the video, I sort of explain the situation to him. A third officer, with a body cam, identified himself as Kevin Freeman. I found out later he was the commander for the Annapolis Police K-9 Division.

I explained the situation to him, he seemed to agreeably and professionally take my complaint about the officer and assured me it would be addressed. Unfortunately, as I was walking back towards the Capitol Building, Officer Spearman continued to follow me. He again began walking, unimpeded, away from the other officers, who had told me they wouldn’t let him do this.

As he was following me he made some very odd comments. I don’t know if you can hear them in the video, but one was, “now we’ll do a follow up with the Department of Homeland Security.” The other was, “We may have a lone wolf situation here.” Both ludicrous statements as you can tell from my reaction if the video.

I hope the public finds this video as informative as I did about certain officers within the Annapolis Police Department. And if anybody feels like expressing their own opinion to the Annapolis Police department, included are the public access, non-emergency numbers and email for their Internal Affairs Department, as well as links to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Feel free to express your opinion, it is your right as much as filming them in public without having to be being harassed and intimidated is.

– Landon Tomsa

Just wanted to give a big thanks and a shout out to everyone involved at CopBlock.org. Though I have not been doing this very long, you guys have helped me immensely. Keep up the good work and let people know that Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.

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Frostburg State University Cop Asks Detained Woman How to Unload Weapon; Points Gun at Cars

The following videos and description were shared with the CopBlock Network by Stephanie Sledge, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The video shows a traffic stop by a pair of police officers working for Frostburg State University in Maryland, in which a female driver was arrested for having a firearm in her purse. According to Stephanie, the gun was found during an illegal search. After the weapon was found, as is described below and pretty visible in the video, the officer trying to clear the weapon seems to not know very well how to handle a firearm, something that you would thing would be fairly integral to his job.

Date of Incident: June 1, 2016
Officer Involved: Officer Pirolozzi
Department Involved: Frostburg State University Police
Email Address: [email protected]
Phone Number: (301) 687-4223

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

Frostburg State University cops pulled over a woman for accidentally turning the wrong way down a one way street. She was pulled over by two officers surrounding her car. She was given her citations and told she was free to go.

Officer Pirolozzi then changed his mind and asked the woman if he could search her car. She told him she does not give him consent and reminded the officer he had told her she was free to go.

The officer then asked her to get out of the car, detained her, and illegally searched her car anyway. A hand gun was found in her purse. The officer then had to ask the woman how to unload the weapon after illegally searching her vehicle.

He wore an “expert marksman” patch on his uniform. The officer also pointed the loaded weapon in a public street as cars were passing by. The other officer had to inform him cars were coming.

They charged her with having a “Weapon in a Vehicle.” She took the case to trial and was found not guilty because her Fourth Amendment rights against being searched without reasonable cause had been violated.

– Stephanie Sledge

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Despite Arrests the “Threat” from Creepy, Scary Clowns has Spread and Multiplied Across the United States

I’ve previously reported on the harrowing and expanding threat that clowns have begun to represent to this country and citizens throughout it. Fortunately, my warnings did not go unheeded and not long ago South Carolina Police Chief Ken Miller promised to get tough on clowns. In order to do so, he indicated he would begin enforcing a law that was already on the books against wearing masks in public. (technically clown makeup isn’t a mask, but you can’t engage in semantics at a time like this.)

Initially, this policy that effectively outlawed clowns seemed to have made some important headway. As fellow CopBlock Network contributor Joshua Hotchkin reported a couple weeks ago, four arrests were made across two states soon after. For a brief moment, the country was able to breathe a sigh of relief, believing that the Great Clown Invasion of 2016 had been thwarted. Predictably, that didn’t last long, though.

That was far from the end of it, as we all know now. Since those initial arrests there have been at least eight more of these painted tormentors have been hauled in on various charges across numerous states. More troubling, the sightings of menacing clowns have not stopped, but in fact have multiplied and spread to at least ten states nationwide.

Another very troubling detail to have emerged within the latest sightings is that the majority of these clowns are reported be driving vans. You might ask yourself what is so dangerous about that and, on the surface, it’s a reasonable question. However, anybody who has been to the circus knows that clowns can use their magical powers to fit at least a dozen of their cohorts into a really tiny car. Just imagine how many clowns are hiding out in something as big as a van. There might be hundreds in there just waiting to spring out and lay waste to your neighborhood. Hell, three or four of them vans would be all they need to overrun a small town.

Check out this report from the New York Times:

The reports to the police had one thing in common with the circus act involving an improbable number of clowns emerging from a small car.

They just kept coming, and coming, and coming, across multiple states. Clowns in vans. Clowns in the woods.

Clowns lurking in the shadows. Clowns chasing people or doing crimes.

Just let that sink in for a minute. What hope is there to stop such a relentless, determined group of pseudo humans bent on destroying society as we know it?

Obviously, the other side of this threat is the speed at which these clowns are able to reproduce. Anybody who has ever worked around Carnies or attended a Ren Faire, the two groups most likely to have been recruited by the Clown Army, has surely glimpsed some aspect of this phenomenon. Both of those sub-genres are known for engaging in 24 hour orgies that only stop (sometimes) when it’s time to perform their drunken acts on some sort of makeshift stage.

Suspected Clown Arrested

Suspected Clown Arrested

There are perilous times ahead for sure. An entire school in Reading, Ohio had to be locked down after a woman reported a clown related attack. One day prior in a nearby town, a young clown was arrested for making threats to school children. Fortunately, the Heroes in Blue protecting Colerain Township were able to nip that one in the bud before it reached full maturity.

Since they originally emerged from their lair in South Carolina, other clown sightings have been reported in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and even on the West Coast in California. Luckily, in Maryland a known and longstanding gang of clowns, who were brazen enough to flaunt themselves at public events, has been forced by the publicity to withdraw from such activities. We can score one for the good guys out there.

That’s obviously just a minor dent in their numbers, though. Earlier this week, several of the Clowns even released a Facebook Live video mocking their pursuers:

Sadly, before I conclude this latest update I even have to report that this scourge upon ‘Merica has very much hit home for me. Last night, KTNV News, the local ABC affiliate for Southern Nevada, reported that a clown had been trying to “friend” students from Chaparral, a Las Vegas high school.

This is dangerous on several levels. First, it’s near me and so that makes it important. Possibly even more troubling though, this means they are learning to use social media. Once these clowns start organizing on the internets, they’ll pretty much become unstoppable. We should all accept that this is probably just a matter of time, at this point.

Fortunately, ABC 7 in Denver is reporting that the FBI and Homeland Security have finally become involved. (The article also includes a handy timeline of the Clown Invasion.) Hopefully, this not a case of too little, too late already. Obviously, this is the (no-clown) human race’s best chance of surviving. “Help us Homeland Security, you’re our only hope!”

Send thoughts and prayers.

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Maryland Cops Made Newb Work at Burger King for Two Months for Giant Five Gram Marijuana Bust

In the small Maryland town of Thurmont, police spent two months on an undercover operation that eventually thwarted a massive drug ring involving two twenty-something employees. At the conclusion of the big sting operation, cops were able to keep five grams of pot and two morphine pills off the streets of Thurmont.

Of course, in order to pull off this massive undertaking and get to the Burger Kingpin, somebody had to pick up a second job slinging burgers for two months. Fortunately, they had some fresh meat just out of the academy that they could use to find out who was giving customers a little extra lettuce with their burgers.

Via the FrederickNewsPost.com:

The operation began in August as Officer Nicole Fair was still adjusting to the department, having started July 1. Fair’s tenure coincided with complaints about drugs being sold out of the Burger King on North Church Street. Her supervisors quickly realized the opportunity to run an undercover operation, Chief Greg Eyler said.

“It is less common, because we live in a small, tight-knit community where people know one another. In this case, we had a new officer who wasn’t well-known in Thurmont at the time,” Eyler explained. “So we thought that we would put her in there in a covert operation.”Submitting a résumé that included some of her work history but excluded her law enforcement career, Fair was hired by the fast-food restaurant in early August and set out to get to the bottom of the rumors.

By Sept. 22, indictments were unsealed against two Burger King employees, 23-year-old Tommy Lee Miller and 28-year-old Jonathan Brook Moser, in Frederick County Circuit Court on the strength of Fair’s undercover work, which resulted in at least two drug purchases by the new officer.

“I was hired to help and protect the community of Thurmont, and that was what I was doing. You hear about all the drug problems we’re having here and elsewhere and, whether it’s marijuana or something else, we’re really feeling the effects of it,” Fair said of her role in the arrests. “To be able to do something to directly address that, especially being a new officer, was extremely rewarding.”

Police seized 5 grams of marijuana and two morphine pills during the operation, Eyler wrote in an email response to The Frederick News-Post’s questions Tuesday.

Possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana on its own is not enough to warrant more than a criminal citation under state law, but because the men sold marijuana to Fair, both were charged with distribution and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, more serious offenses that carry jail time, Eyler said.

“It was worth doing the investigation because distribution is a felony and they were dealing at a restaurant, which is totally inappropriate,” the chief said of the undercover operation.

Before the investigating, the department did not know the quantity of drugs Miller and Moser had, Eyler said

No search warrants were filed after the indictments, Eyler said. While drugs were seized during the investigation, police did not have probable cause to search any other addresses, including the Burger King or either man’s home, he said.

Both the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office and Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird were told that police were planning an undercover operation, but Burger King was not notified.

“Based upon the information we had, we felt that anonymity was necessary for the protection of the officer and the integrity of the operation. … Alerting management would have compromised the investigation,” State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said.

So, the biggest surprise about this story is obviously that she had to put in a resume to get a job at Burger King. That tells you a few things about the economy and job situation in Thurmont. But getting past that, it took her two months to find someone that would sell her an amount of pot that would only get you fined and (literally) a couple pills without even being able to drum up an excuse for a warrant to look for more.

That just tells you what horrible drug epidemic it was that Officer Fair (I’m seeing the irony) was “protecting the community of Thurmont from.” The reality is no doubt that she couldn’t find anyone running drug sales out of the Burger King, so she found a couple gullible guys willing to supply her with some of their personal stash. That, of course, was inflated into a felony “crime” for something that shouldn’t even be illegal in the first place.

It’s good though that Officer Fair got some valuable experience to fall back on though, if this whole being a cop and ruining people’s lives over victimless crimes thing doesn’t work out.

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