Pueblo, CO bust falls apart because cop staged his bodycam footage to frame his suspect


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/06/propaganda-movies.html


#2

Boggle. The cameras don’t time-stamp the video as it’s recorded?

IANAL, but a halfway-competent [1] defense attorney should be able to impeach the video on that basis alone.

[1] And, yes, that’s a lot to ask of public defenders in this country.


#3

This guy must have confused the real world with a 90s cop re-enactment show.

Also, don’t care about the drugs, but was he legally able to possess the weapon? If not, why to screw that up, officer Fife.


#4

I don’t really agree with some of the details of @doctorow 's writeup here. No articles I’ve seen have said that anyone determined that a frame was done. And he wasn’t “‘recreating’ his bust”… the car was impounded because the suspect was arrested for failing to provide registration and proof of insurance.

The problem is that (after the car reached the impound lot) the officer first searched the car with his camera off, and then after he claims to have found something he got another officer to watch while he “searched” the car again with the camera on, acting surprised to find things and so forth. That’s definitely evidence tampering (which is bad enough!), and it violates the department’s policies, but it’s only possible evidence of a frame.

(I’m basing some of this off the earlier Ars article that had more details of the timeline of the event. I’d love to know if there’s more information somewhere that wasn’t included in these two articles.)

Wouldn’t help in this case. The search and the “recreation” were both done minutes apart, and since they were done at a tow yard no one would have any way to know down to the minute when the search was supposed to have happened.


#5

Ooo…7 whole grams of heroin and 43 $1 dollar bills…you managed to bust this ring wide open Serpico!


#6

Totally read that in Krieger’s voice.


#8

This is why cops can’t have authority. Now open the books and find out what other cases he was involved with. Those cases need to be unwound.


#9

Headline should read: Honest Cop Gives Bad Guy a Break


#10

Now, give him his .357 back…


#11

Seems to me, the cop did the right thing, in this case…he realized the chain of evidence was bad, and reported it, rather than letting the case proceed.


#12

I wouldn’t go that far. First of all, from the sounds of it, he purposefully created the recording to give the impression that it was the initial search rather than a recreation. Second, he only owned up to it after he was caught in the problem of having to explain why the video recording he had created did not square up with the written report he had submitted… and even then, he tried to explain it away as trying to “walk the court through” the unrecorded search.

The prosecutors did the right thing by dropping the charges once they were made aware that the cop had tampered with the evidence, but that was probably because they didn’t want to have to face some really difficult questions at trial.


#13

I liked the characterization someone on ars technica made: “the idiot cop framed a guilty person.” In all likelihood, the cops testimony of what he found plus the physical evidence would have easily been enough to get a conviction, but he went and made up a video and misrepresented it to the courts.

[quote=“Shirly_LeGitte”]
Seems to me, the cop did the right thing, in this case…he realized the chain of evidence was bad, and reported it, rather than letting the case proceed.[/quote]

Only, after the “evidence” was questioned. As near as I can piece together, the guy probably didn’t even realize that what he was doing was wrong or tampering with evidence – he just knew he was supposed to get searches on camera, so he did. Then, at some point during the legal process, the question was brought up why parts of the video seemed inconsistent, and he said “well, yeah, I had to re-enact it to get it on film”. The prosecutor, upon hearing this, says “oh shit”, makes the mother of all facepalms, and drops the case.


#14

So you agree that there was evidence tampering, but disagree that a frame was done. What is a frame if not evidence tampering?


#15

To be more accurate, I disagree that we know whether a frame was attempted or not. I’m absolutely not saying it wasn’t, but to say one was attempted is to accuse the cop of more than he is (currently) accused of.

While a frame typically involves evidence tampering, not all evidence tampering is an attempt to frame someone.


#16

Since you haven’t said what you think the goal of the tampering was, if not to frame, I’m dismissing your argument as legalistic rather than a good faith attempt to get at a fundamental truth of what happened.


#18

Um, yeah. I’m only talking about the accuracy of the headline and the story, not attempting to defend the cop. You can stop trying to put me in that position.


#19

That’s a definition of “framing” that I am not familiar with. In my exposure to the word, usually “I was framed” is used as another way to say “I’m completely innocent”.


#20

I apologize for my choice of words. I mean that it is a dangerous perversion of justice.

(And for the record, I deleted that before you posted your reply.)


#21

This I agree with entirely.


#22

Fix the police.