Tag Archives: planting evidence

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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Open Letter from Army Veteran to the Buffalo PD: Why Did You Murder My Dog?

The following Post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Matthew Albert, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

The open letter from Sgt. Gary Aljoe, whose dog “Sarge” was murdered by members of the Buffalo Police Department Narcotics Task Force was originally posted at ArtVoice.com under the title “You Raided the Wrong House and Killed My Dog!

The execution of Sarge during a raid on Aljoe’s house by Detectives O’Brien and Adams was also discussed in a previous submission by Mathew Albert to the CopBlock Network, which I posted earlier this month.

Date of Incident: December 20, 2016
Department Involved: Buffalo Police Department
Officer Involved: Narcotics Detective Sean O’Brien and and Det. Shawn Adams
Department Phone No.: (716) 851-4575
Department Address: 74 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

An open letter from my client, Sgt. Gary Aljoe, a 37 year veteran, to the cops who killed his 8 year old German Shepherd, Sarge, on December 20, 2016, just before Christmas. Sarge was cowering in a corner of a room on a bunk as a search warrant was executed by the most prolific dog killing squad this country has to offer, the Buffalo Police Narcotics Department.

Sgt. Aljoe built schools and clinics in war torn third world nations while in the Army, and provided security at Ground Zero for fellow Americans after 9-11-01, breathing in all sorts of toxins for four months, toxins that still effect his breathing today.

Sergeant Aljoe knew what he was fighting for. He fought for freedom, justice, and the betterment of mankind. His best question to the killer cops: “What is it that are you fighting for?”

Share to all media outlets, anywhere, and everywhere.

– Matthew Albert

You Raided the Wrong House and Killed My Dog!

An open letter from US Army Sgt. Gary Aljoe to Detective Shawn Adams and Lieutenant Sean O’Brien of the Buffalo Police

Dear Detective Adams and Lieutenant O’Brien,

I am writing to you in regards to the events that occurred on December 20, 2016. As you are aware, you were the team of officers that obtained a search warrant from Buffalo City Court Judge Thomas Amodeo for the house at 85 Ullman Street, executed the warrant, and also executed my dog, Sarge, in the process, without finding anything more than allegedly some residue; found in my son’s room.

Since that time, and going through Christmas and New Years without Sarge, my best friend, I have had nothing to do but think and reflect. With that in mind, I am hoping that, as fellow men in uniform, you will provide me with explanations to certain questions I have.

While you may have not given my dog or I a second thought, after you walked out of the house, these questions have been eating away at me.

As a veteran of 37 years who served his county to try and defend your freedoms, I am hoping you will provide me the courtesy of answering these. For I know that my son is not a drug dealer, and my dog is not a dangerous dog, and offered no threat to you or any officers’ safety.

  1. How was a warrant obtained for my residence where neither the name, age, nor ethnicity was known of the supposed target?
  2. How often do you raid houses without knowing the target of the raid?
  3. My attorney, Matt Albert, informed me that both of you have shot numerous dogs in your career. Why is that the case, and do you think that the small amount of narcotics obtained on these search warrants where dogs are killed justify the killings of man’s best friend?
  4. Do they justify the intrusion of liberty and the right of people to be secure in their homes?
  5. After doing my research, I have estimated that thousands of dogs have been killed by Buffalo Police Narcotics throughout the years. Why have you not sought or received training in non-lethal methods of handling dogs, such as fire extinguishers and/or Tasers when confronting animals during search warrant cases?
  6. Why is it that the Niagara Falls Police Department, which rarely kills dogs, can implement such procedures successfully and not kill dogs, while the Buffalo Police Department doesn’t and continues to kill dogs during raids?
  7. Why is it that a single Buffalo Police Officer from your Narcotics team, Detective Joseph Cook, killed more dogs in a three-year period then the entire New York City Police Department?
  8. Do you not think this is astonishing, and that something is critically wrong with the way your Department handles raids the dogs of the people who live in these homes?
  9. Why did you remove Sarge’s immediately after killing him, depriving me of the opportunity to bury him?
  10. Did you remove him because a necropsy report would contradict your “Use of Force” report where you may have indicated the dog was shot at close range, as if he was charging you, when in reality the dog was shot at a safe distance?
  11.  When you busted into my house in the early morning, and as I was fully compliant with your instructions and my dog was cowering in dread and presented no threat to your safety, why didn’t you ask me to secure Sarge, as I was a mere few feet from him when he was killed, and I could have saved his life?

I am asking these questions not just for myself, or Sarge, who was my best friend, but for every resident of this city who believes the freedom of quiet enjoyment in one’s own home is one we should all enjoy as vital as Americans.

Freedom is what I fought for in my 37 years of military service.

My final question to you is this: By shooting dogs, kicking in doors, locking up so many people, ruining people’s lives over what is in reality for most users is illness and yet still seeing drugs running more rampant than ever in the community, what is it you are fighting for…?  and when is it time to admit that this fight is being fought incorrectly…  that changes in this battle need to be made?

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New York SWAT Team Executes War Vet’s Dog Just Days Before Christmas

The following Post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Matt Albert, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Date of Incident: December 21, 2016
Department Involved: Buffalo Police Department
Officer Involved: Narcotics Detective Sean O’Brien
Department Phone No.: (716) 851-4575

A Bloody Christmas – This Is How Police Treat Our Veterans

After serving 37 years in the military, one would think that Gary Aljoe was entitled to spend a quiet Christmas with his family and his beloved best friend, an 8-year-old-male German Shepherd, whom Aljoe had owned since he was a pup. The dog had been given to him as a present by Aljoe’s son, and was appropriately named Sarge. For Gary himself had achieved the esteemed rank of Sergeant First Class, and one would think that this country would give back the so called freedoms Aljoe had fought for by allowing him the comforts and enjoyments of his own family and home this holiday season. If one thought that however,…one would be wrong.

In the early morning hours on December 21, 2016, the Buffalo Police Narcotics Unit stormed Aljoe’s Ullman Street residence by way of a flash bang, taking the brave sergeant and his animal by surprise. Sarge, usually a very friendly and social German Shepherd, cowered in the corner at the sudden attack. Aljoe initially thought that he was being invaded and was set to call the police. It turned out that his instincts were half right.

And again, if one thought that the Police would show mercy on what they perceived to be an enemy combatant cowering in the corner, one would also be mistaken. A Buffalo police officer, name unknown at this point, blew up Sarge while Gary laid helpless on the floor, with a jackbooted cop standing over him, holding him down.

The mirage of freedom that Aljoe had fought for 37 years was shattered by way of gunshots from agents of his own government to his best friends’ head. This wasn’t friendly fire… this was the purposeful execution of a companion animal.

Aljoe has seen a lot over the course of his 37-year tour of duty. He had built schools and clinics in war torn nations such as Panama, and while others ran from midtown Manhattan in the wake of 9-11-01, Aljoe came to the scene to provide security for the four months immediately after the tragedy. However, nothing he saw prepared him to witness the savage slaughter of his best friend, by so called men, who should be wearing prison uniforms as opposed to police.

Aljoe has replayed these events in his head every single day, unable to fathom the brutality of the Buffalo Police Force. He is scheduled to begin extensive counseling at the VA. Meanwhile, the officers found the situation to be far more comical, laughing about the matter as they quickly bagged up Sarge to try and keep any testing being done on the body; testing which would prove the unjustifiable nature of the attack on a dog that was laying down helpless on the floor.

As previous Artvoice reports have established, this is nothing new to the Buffalo Police Department. For they have done this thousands of times over the years, and have the art of killing canines down to a science, with the help of the Buffalo Animal Control and the SPCA. Yes, the SPCA. If one were to think that the SPCA, the one agency in society whose creed is to protect animals above man, would be outraged about this barbaric practice, one would again be mistaken.

In fact, the SPCA has assisted Buffalo Police in the destruction of evidence time and time again, and helped cover up these brutal crimes for all these years. They have an incinerator designed specifically to make the dogs’ remains, and any hopes of justice… go up in smoke. After Buffalo Animal control bags up the bodies, they then take the lost souls to the SPCA for incineration.

Luckily, Aljoe contacted me in time for intervention and we will be ushering Sarge to Cornell for an independent Necropsy to be done. Private citizens are realizing more and more that they need to rely on other private citizens for hopes of obtaining traditionally American values, such as freedom and justice, and not law enforcement and quasi law enforcement agencies such as the SPCA.

To underscore that point, Erie County SPCA Chief Veterinarian Helene Chevalier actually has a forensic certification and can perform the analysis needed to determine how Sarge was shot; what position he was in when the officer fired. However… the SPCA has planted themselves firmly on the side of the cops on this one, forcing the difficult task of transporting Sarge across the state for any hopes of justice.

The SPCA, through email correspondence from Assistant Director Beth Shapiro, indicated they intend to handle this matter by working “with the Buffalo Police,” and “offering training.” Evidently, they overlook the fact that the Police have denied all efforts for training over the past 10 years… indicating that the choice to kill dogs is simply just that… a choice.

Perhaps Buffalo Police were in a particularly giddy mood that morning so close to Christmas, as a Federal Appeals Court in Michigan had just handed down quite the gift to law enforcement, in the form of a decision that has left dog lovers across the country howling in anger. The appeals court ruled that police can shoot and kill dogs upon entry into an individuals’ home if the dogs barks or moves. While paralyzed and mute dogs may still be safe, the rest of us are not.

The grand bounty that the Buffalo Police claimed for the stripping of this proud veteran’s pride and the loss of this beautiful German Shepherd’s life? A bag of cocaine residue, which police try and attribute to Aljoe’s son, who lives at the residence. It’s funny how all these so called drug dealers don’t actually have drugs in their houses…but rather, empty bags of residue. If one didn’t know any better, one could surmise that these bags are planted by police to try and justify their lawless invasions, canine kills, and mass arrests of the poor and downtrodden. If one didn’t know any better, one could easily come to the conclusion that there is no justice…there is just us.

– Matt Albert

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The Blue Mafia: New Book Explores Police Brutality and Consent Decrees in Ohio

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Tim Tolka, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. Within the post, Tim discusses “Blue Mafia,” a book he wrote detailing police corruption and violence in Ohio, specifically concerning the police departments in Steubenville and Warren. Also included is a video preview of that book by Tim.

Tim also states:

The book is forthcoming and mentions all the officers involved by name with extensive documentation from the media, court documents, former and current officials and witnesses.

Blue Mafia: An Exploration of Consent Decrees in Ohio

A new book entitled “Blue Mafia” examines the nation’s second ever and fourth oldest Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations of patterns and practices of police misconduct in two small Ohio towns seated in Rustbelt Democratic counties. Ohio has hosted as many federal police misconduct investigations as New York state although it has only a fraction of its population. Only California has hosted more investigations than Ohio, although it has more than twice Ohio’s population. However, nowhere has the DOJ been resisted more fiercely than in Ohio.

In 1995, civil rights lawyer Richard Olivito began to feel hunted while litigating a civil rights case against the Steubenville police. He and his family received death threats. He and his wife survived two failed assassination attempts before placing a desperate call to the DOJ and driving to D.C. to meet with federal attorneys. The DOJ later sent two attorneys to investigate and requested a truckload of documents from the city of Steubenville. In 1997, the DOJ sued Steubenville for a pattern of civil rights violations and the city signed the second consent decree in U.S. history.

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The pattern of misconduct that caused Steubenville to become one of the less than 3% of municipalities saddled with a consent decree was essentially similar to that of the LAPD Rampart scandal. There were one or two allegations the DOJ was aware of against the police in Steubenville that not even the LAPD could touch. Steubenville has a history of corruption and organized crime which persists until the present day. The federal auditor for the consent decree eventually admitted that he couldn’t change the town’s culture or the choices of its powerful families.

Before the DOJ came to town, there were brutal and unaccountable police on the payroll of the mob in Steubenville. In 1986, the chief was accused of beating a white British woman who was with a black man in a Bob Evans, while yelling “niggerlover!” Once, an officer beat a woman with a chair inside the local courthouse, yet the chief famously refused to discipline his officers. Meanwhile, the county prosecutor was recruiting hitmen into an undercover narcotics task force and plotting to set people up, rob them and even murder them. Richard Olivito handled two criminal cases in which it was revealed in open court that an officer planted evidence and trafficked drugs. All these circumstances on top of forty-four court settlements in civil rights cases piqued the interest of the DOJ Civil Rights Division.

Six years after being involved in the DOJ investigation of Steubenville, Olivito again faced DOJ attorneys on the other side of a conference room in 2003. One of them asked, “Is it as bad as Steubenville?” Olivito replied,”I think it’s worse. It’s laced with racism.” Olivito visited the DOJ after he learned of strip searches, beatings and multiple alleged murders by the Warren police.

Warren was Ferguson ten years before the death of Michael Brown and had similar problems as recently reported by the DOJ in the Baltimore Police Department. In 2003, a video of three cops beating an African American was broadcast by national outlets. Strip searches were “routine” after traffic stops, if cops discovered the driver has a suspended license or acted in a way they didn’t like. A spree of volatile new lawsuits on top of more than fifty during the preceding decades as well as desperate calls from community leaders convinced the Bush DOJ to investigate in 2005, but the DOJ didn’t file a suit accusing Warren of a pattern and practice of civil rights violations until 2012.

Still today, no Warren officer has ever been fired for excessive force and no officer has ever been punished in a lethal force incident. The nine-year tenure of the department’s former chief, John Mandopoulos caused DOJ intervention after two years and a pattern of federal involvement which intensified after every presidential election. The WPD now hosts the fourth oldest DOJ investigation in the country, as they “strive everyday to reach compliance with the decree,” which must be maintained for two years in order for the consent decree to be lifted.

Blue Mafia portrays the challenge of civil rights on the frontline against police brutality in the courts and the streets of America. No other book examines the federal process of police reform in comparable depth, revealing the influence of local and national politics as well as insurers, law firms and police unions. Often, the DOJ is the last line of defense for small town residents, but it offers no remedy to those deprived and violated, only the promise of a less brutal future. For residents in Cleveland, Baltimore, Chicago and other cities with ongoing DOJ settlement agreements, there is much to learn from the experiences of Warren and Steubenville.

– Tim Tolka

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Retired Baltimore Cop Tweets About Abuses He Witnessed

This morning (June 24th), Michael A. Wood Jr., a retired Baltimore police detective, began sending out a series of tweets about abuse he had “seen & participated in, in policing that is corrupt, intentional or not.”

Below are those tweets:


(Note: CDS = Controlled Dangerous Substance; AKA drugs)

According to Salon.com, this isn’t the first time Wood has made some sort of admission about abuse by police:

Wood previously alluded to much of the misconduct he claims to have witnessed during a May 2015 interview on the podcast Dogma Debate with David Smalley. During that interview, Wood called for an end to the war on drugs and cited a lack of empathy as one of the main drivers of police misconduct.

Michael Wood Jr2On the face of it, none of these admissions are exactly a revelation (which is kind of a statement in itself) if you’ve been paying attention to police abuse issues and the lack of accountability for them. There are some interesting details within them that connect to and tend to confirm (or be confirmed by) some previous known practices within other departments. Not too long ago, a Philadelphia cop admitted to planting drugs, falsifying paperwork, and lying under oath in testimony against other cops accused of stealing and doing all those other things that he did. In Houston, a group of police officers were caught writing bogus tickets in order to earn overtime by testifying in court. Also, in a high profile case of police brutality from Denver, the operator of the CCTV cam that provided the footage of an officer attacking a young man, who was in no way threatening or being aggressive toward him or anyone else, begins to pan away from the scene as soon as the beating starts, to try and prevent capturing evidence of it.

Wood’s admissions and the timing of them are a bit telling about the culture of police departments. It’s somewhat of a better late than never scenario, but the fact that he stood by and witnessed all of these (and probably many more) abuses and didn’t report them or take steps to stop them shows the level of complicity among law enforcement. This is something else I’m actually not personally surprised by. I’ve had a number of Las Vegas police answer with some variation of “are you going to pay my bills if I do,” when questioned about not reporting bad cops. The implication that they would get fired for speaking up after witnessing abuse or corruption shows who really controls police departments. The bad apples have already spoiled the bunch.

However, the idea that you should stand by and witness or cover up and even participate in abuses for monetary reasons doesn’t speak much for your own morality or how much of a good cop you actually are. Woods and others who “come clean” after their days as a cop are over should be commended for that act and the light that it shines on the corruption and police brutality out there. It would be much more beneficial if those standing there right this moment witnessing an abuse would take a stand here and now, though. If we’re really to believe that the bad ones are just a tiny minority of the police force, then the good shouldn’t have to worry about retaliation, since there’s so many more of them.

banner-storeBTW, it didn’t take long for the parade of “Good Cop” supporters to show up and let Wood know how much they approved of his honesty and willingness to expose bad cops:

You gotta love those Cop Lovers with their eternal quest for truth and justice.

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