Once again the public trust in the Baltimore City Police Department is shaken to the core. As reported in The Baltimore Sun, police officer Richard Pinheiro Jr. has been found guilty of re-creating body camera evidence of a drug arrest (“Baltimore Police officer found guilty of fabricating evidence in case where his own body camera captured the act,” Nov. 9).
How can the people of Baltimore City ever come to the point where they trust the Baltimore Police Department when it continues to be proven that the department bends the law for their own purpose? Mr. Pinheiro's defense was that he forgot to activate his body camera when he began his search. How convenient. What about the other police officers with him? Did they not have their body cameras activated also? During Mr. Pinheiro's trial did these other officers testify in his defense saying that he was telling the truth? I guess that the answer to both of these questions is no. The person that Mr. Pinheiro arrested spent six months of his life in jail because this officer created the evidence necessary to put him in jail. What happens to Mr. Pinheiro? He gets a three year suspended sentence, two years of supervised probation, and has to perform 300 hours of community service. He still has his job as a police officer.
He has been, and is still, receiving his salary because he is, and has been, on paid suspension. He also has to go before a review board made up of his fellow police officers to determine if he should be terminated. Gee, I wonder what the decision of the review board will be? The police department needs to start acting honestly, fairly, lawfully, and with respect to the citizens of Baltimore City. The police department needs to be held accountable when they break the law. Until these things happen, there will always be distrust and contempt toward them by the citizenry.