A Baltimore police officer who mistakenly recorded himself planting evidence at a crime scene last year that led to one person being arrested, is now facing criminal charges. Officer Richard A. Pinheiro Jr. was indicted by a grand jury Tuesday (Jan. 23), Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced.
Pinheiro is accused of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and common law misconduct on the job, according to Mosby’s office. He has been suspended since the footage came to light.
“As State’s Attorney, I’ve made a pledge to apply one standard of justice for all,” Mosby said. “It’s critical we remain transparent throughout the process to the extent the law allows as we continue to rebuild community trust.”
Mosby added that the indictment is “another example of our office applying justice fairly and equally.”
Judging by the footage, Pinheiro wasn’t aware that his body cam continued recording 30 seconds after he turned it off. In the recording, Pinheiro appears to drop a clear plastic bag filled with drugs, before switching on his body cam, and pretending to have discovered the baggie. Two other officers were with him at the time but were not charged with wrongdoing.
Charges against the man arrested at the scene were dropped after prosecutors reviewed Pinheiro’s body cam recording.
If convicted, Pinheiro, 29, faces up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine for evidence tampering. The penalty for his “common law” offense will be determined by the court.