An officer in Utica, New York is being accused of planting evidence — and he was busted by the dash cam in his own police cruiser.
The Utica Phoenix recently obtained dash cam video of a February 11, 2011 traffic stop, where officers Palladino and Padulla search an African-American couple.
At about one minute into the video, one of the officers is seen taking a plastic bag out of his back pocket and seems to place it inside the vehicle. Several moments later, he emerges from the vehicle with a larger plastic bag, presumably evidence.
Utica Police Chief Mark Williams was reportedly contacted by Venice Ervin, chairman of the Legal Redress Committee of the NAACP, about the video.
“We have an on-going internal affairs investigation regarding this matter, therefore I am not able to speak about it,” Williams said. “I’ve already met with Venice Ervin of the NAACP on this complaint. When this matter has been thoroughly investigated, I plan on meeting with Mr. Ervin first to discuss the results of the investigation.”
According to the Phoenix, suspicions about police abuses are nothing new among Utica’s black community.
In one recent interview, a black woman accused police of kicking down her door and coming in her house while they “waited for a warrant.”
Although a drug-sniffing dog found initially no contraband, police later claimed to find drugs in that case as well.
“All I can tell you is this; if I have an officer that I feel is planting drugs, he’s not going to have a job with the Utica Police Department. It’s not in my bests interests to keep someone like that around,” Williams told WKTV.
Watch this video from Utica Phoenix, uploaded Jan. 2, 2012.