A number of criminal cases in Baltimore have gone up in smoke over the past two weeks after two Baltimore police body-camera videos have allegedly shown officers planting Ԁгᴜɡѕ on residents of the city.
The most recent video, released Tuesday by Baltimore defense attorney Josh Insley, has led the Baltimore City States Attorney’s Office to refer two officers to Internal Affairs and postpone all cases involving the officers.Five cases have also been dismissed — including Insley’s client, Shamere Collins, 35, whose car appears in the newly released video.
“I think they put something in my car,” Collins told NBC News’ Stephanie Gosk in an exclusive interview.
Officers arrested Collins on Nov. 29, 2016, after they told her they smelled ᴍɑгɪȷᴜɑпɑ. They then searched her car and said they recovered bags of һᴇгᴏɪп and ᴍɑгɪȷᴜɑпɑ. She was later charged with felony distribution of пɑгᴄᴏтɪᴄѕ.
The most recent video appears to show an officer place a baggie of what appears to be Ԁгᴜɡѕ inside of a car while surrounded by other Baltimore police. He then bends over again and appears to find them.
Collins, who admits to being a recreational ᴍɑгɪȷᴜɑпɑ smoker, said she was shocked to hear they had discovered the bags of wᴇᴇԀ and һᴇгᴏɪп.
“My mind — I went numb like — I didn’t know what was going on,” Collins said. “They [were] telling me I was facing time and all this … so it’s like I felt numb. I didn’t know what to do.”Two officers in Collins’ case were referred to Internal Affairs by the city’s State Attorney’s Office, which urged residents to not rush to judgment.
But, two weeks ago, Maryland Office of the Public Defender released a similar video in which an officer appeared to plant and later find Ԁгᴜɡѕ on a plot of a Baltimore residence. Three officers were implicated in the video.The State’s Attorney’s Office said that it had dismissed or is set to dismiss 41 cases because of the first video, 55 are under review and 27 are considered viable cases to prosecute because of evidence beyond the officers’ testimony.
Two of those officers were placed on administrative duty and one was suspended.
These cases of police evidence tampering aren’t helping the image of a beleaguered agency one year removed from a U.S. Department of Justice report that described the Baltimore Police Department as engaging “in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law.”
“What these videos show is a deep culture of disrespect for the people of Baltimore,” said Assistant Public Defender Debbie Katz Levi.
The Baltimore Police Department is investigating both videos and advising officers to keep their body cameras on at all times.
Baltimore Police Spokesman T.J. Smith described the video as disturbing but said that the clip is perhaps being taken out of context.
“There’s more to the story, I mean, the only sections that are being relooped and relooped are the questionable sections,” he told NBC News.Smith later suggested that the police may have recreated the Ԁгᴜɡ discovery for the body cameras.
Still, Collins said that it has shaken her faith in the Baltimore police, which she said is widespread throughout the city.
“It makes us even scared to address the police or call them for anything because we’re scared,” Collins said. “I’m not saying all police are bad because I have law [enforcement] in my family. So I’m not saying all of them are bad but it’s … the one’s that’s bad is making all of them look bad.”