For Immediate Release 1/24/2017
Baltimore—Officer Richard A. Pinheiro, Jr. was indicted by a Baltimore City Grand Jury yesterday, January, 23, 2017. The case will be prosecuted by the Public Trust and Police Integrity Unit under the leadership of Assistant State's Attorney StacyAnn Llewellyn, who serves as the chief of this unit which handles criminal complaints against Baltimore Police officers and Baltimore City employees.
The Grand Jury indicted Officer Pinheiro on the following charges:
- Tampering with or fabricating physical evidence—Fabricate physical evidence to wit: body worn camera footage in order to impair the verity of the physical evidence with the intent to deceive
- Common Law Misconduct in Office—Commit a wrongful and improper act in the performance of his official duties
The first offense is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine. The second offense is a common law offense, which means that the court is free to impose any penalty that does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. This indictment stems from alleged questionable evidence gathering acts captured on Body Worn Camera (BWC) footage on January, 24 2017.
“As State’s Attorney, I’ve made a pledge to apply one standard of justice for all. It's critical we remain transparent throughout the process to the extent the law allows as we continue to rebuild community trust,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “Yesterday’s indictment is another example of our office applying justice fairly and equally."
The SAO declined to charge three Baltimore Police officers with a criminal offense related to a separate incident where their actions were captured on BWC on June 17, 2017. This case involves the alleged reenactment of the recovery of Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) by Baltimore Police officers.
An investigation was launched into this matter to determine whether Officer #1, with the complicity of the other two involved officers, wrongfully tried to create a fraudulent BWC video showing his recovery of the drugs on June 17, 2017 by not activating his BWC before initiating his search of the area.
The State has concluded after a thorough investigation there is insufficient evidence to support the notion that Officer #1 wrongfully tried to create fraudulent BWC video.
When viewed on their own, all three BWC videos from the involved officers show the entire sequence of relevant events from when Officer #1 first discovered the package of litter containing the drugs, to when he put it back ,turned on his BWC, and then picked it up a second time. This confirms that the acts on the video were just the recovery of drugs and there is nothing false or fraudulent in the BWC videos that would deceive or mislead a reasonable person. Therefore, the police officer’s actions in this case did not rise to a level of criminal culpability. Moreover, Officer #1 self-reported his conduct to a superior officer.
A detailed report on this investigation can be found here.
The Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City is currently the only jurisdiction in Maryland following the recommendation of the Association of Prosecuting Attorney’s (APA) 21st Century Prosecution Standards which encourages prosecutors to communicate directly with the public when declining to charge an officer. Under the policy that was implemented by State's Attorney Mosby last March, the SAO posts case summaries to its website that explain the Office’s and/or an independent investigator’s decision not to press charges against the accused officer(s), as well as provide supporting evidence and documentation for the declination to charge.
In cases where the Office or an independent investigator chooses to bring charges, the legal process would move forward as it would in any other criminal case. Prosecutors are ethically barred from commenting publicly on active criminal cases.
“Our office has worked diligently to break down barriers of distrust in the criminal justice system, and we take our oath and our responsibility to keep the community informed with accurate information very seriously,” said State’s Attorney Mosby.