LAPD body-camera video played in court Thursday appears to directly contradict an officer’s sworn testimony in the case of a black man arrested after a hit-and-run accident, CBS-LA reports.
According to the police report, LAPD officer Samuel Lee stated that cocaine was found inside Ronald Shields’ front left pocket
CBS2 News Investigative Reporter David Goldstein obtained 12 videos from bodycams worn by officers on the scene of the April accident.
The footage appears to show one officer planting drugs inside a suspect’s wallet while believing his camera was not recording.
One video shows an officer picking up a small packet from the ground and placing it inside the suspect’s wallet, before showing his findings to several officers on the scene.
According to CBS-LA:
In video from another angle, LAPD Officer Gaxiola picks up Shields’ wallet from the street and shows it to Lee, who points to the suspect as if to say it’s his. He then puts it back down, steps to the street, bends over and picks up a small bag with white powder. It eventually tested positive for drugs.
Gaxiola goes back onto the sidewalk, picks up the wallet, motions to Lee and appears to put the bag into the wallet. Now if you’re wondering why anyone would allegedly do this while being recorded, this could be the reason. You hear the audio and see the officers hand, which is when he activates the recording on the camera. But what he may not have known is that the previous 30 seconds are automatically saved without audio.
And if you rewind those 30 seconds, that’s where this all takes place. Gaxiola hasn’t testified and had nothing to say Thursday. On the video, after he collects the wallet, he brags about it to the other officers.
“He has a little bag of narco in here,” he says on the video. He says it three times.
Lee says the bag of drugs fell out of Shields’ pocket. Levine has another theory and believes it proves Gaxiola planted the drugs.
“There’s a little white square here in his hand,” Levine said about one point in the video. “I believe the video shows the drugs were in his right hand and transfers to his left hand.”
According Shields’ attorney, Steve Levine, officer Lee seemed stunned when he was shown the video while on the witness stand.
“He looked dumbstruck to me,” Levine said. “Period. He had really no answer.”
Watch the video below via CBS-LA: