Trevor Noah skewers Baltimore police for alleged drug-planting videos

With his tongue placed firmly in his cheek, “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah floated a theory about Baltimore’s black-market economy on Thursday night’s episode on Comedy Central.

“I’m starting to wonder if the entire drug business in Baltimore is just cops buying drugs to plant them,” Noah said.

Baltimore police body-camera videos were the subject of the show’s main segment Thursday, when Noah presented two clips that have called into question if city officers have planted drugs on criminal defendants.

Both videos are under investigation, according to police.

The first clip depicts a January drug arrest where an officer places a soup can, which holds a plastic bag, into a lot, and then retrieves it moments later to find a bag filled with white capsules. Officer Richard Pinheiro, who was wearing the body camera, was later suspended by police, while the other officers in the clip, Hovhannes Simonyan and Jamal Brunson, were placed on administrative duty pending an investigation.

Noah feigned disappointment over the officer’s lack of theatrical showmanship in the video.

“It’s one thing to apparently plant evidence. It’s another to miss a golden opportunity to look like a super sleuth,” the host said. “If you’re going to frame people and send them to jail, at least have the decency to put on a show, especially if you’re planning to make this a regular thing.”

The segment then segued into footage of a separate incident, which was released Tuesday by local defense attorney Josh Insley. In the clip from November, police stopped the vehicle of Shamere Collins and recovered heroin and marijuana from the car. Insley told The Baltimore Sun that he believes the video shows officers staging the recovery of drugs. Earlier in the week, the office of the Baltimore public defender announced charges had been dropped against Collins. The officers in the video have not been named.

Noah used the Baltimore examples to make a larger point in the segment.

“As disturbing as these videos are, black people have known about police planting evidence for years, but nobody believed them,” Noah said. “But now there’s the technology to prove it.”

Read The Sun’s interview with Noah from last year about Donald Trump, DeRay Mckesson and the media’s coverage of the uprising after Freddie Gray’s death here.

wesley.case@baltsun.com

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