If you’re a black man in America, you’re basically screwed. Let’s just be honest and admit that. White privilege does exist, and profiling and discrimination do happen in police departments across the country. We would like to believe good cops outnumber the bad cops; however, the things that bad cops do make that difficult to remember. Even though some departments across the country have tried to take steps forward to curtail this epidemic with measures such as body cameras, these horrible incidents are still happening. This goes to show just how emboldened and powerful some officers may feel when they put on a badge and wear their gun. That’s the case in Los Angeles, California.
CBS Los Angeles reported that video caught on an LAPD officer’s body camera proves they lied and even planted drugs on their suspect.
‘LAPD body-camera video played in court Thursday directly contradicts an officer’s sworn testimony in the case of a man arrested after a hit-and-run accident, a CBS2 News investigation has learned.’
The news agency was able to obtain the videos, even though the LAPD has previously refused to release any footage from their officers’ cameras.
When officers arrested 52-year-old Ronald Shields, they charged him with felony hit and run, possession of cocaine, and having a gun in his trunk. During the arrest, the officer in question claimed he found cocaine in Shields’ left pocket. In the police report, it was written:
‘Ofcr Lee #42275 received a green baggie containing cocaine, from Shields’ front left pocket.’
However, the video challenges that. What you see on video from Officer Gaxiola is him picking up Shields’ wallet from the ground. He then shows it to Officer Samuel Lee. What you then see is Gaxiola placing the wallet down on the ground. He then steps away from the wallet and then you can see Gaxiola pick up a green baggie full of white powder. He then puts the bag of white powder in the wallet.
After “finding” the cocaine, Gaxiola then brags about finding it to his fellow officers at least three times.
Now, anyone with any sense trying to do something like this wouldn’t do it knowing they were being recorded. However, after he placed the baggie into the wallet, you hear a buzz. Goldstein explains that’s when Gaxiola activated his camera. What he didn’t know perhaps is that the 30 seconds before being activated is actually saved without audio.
Shields’ attorney remarked on this:
‘It seems improbable that someone would tape themselves planting drugs. So, it seems more reasonable that when he turned on his cam, he was recording at that point.’
When questioned as to why the drugs were originally on the ground, Officer Lee claims the baggie fell out of Shields’ pocket. However, Shields’ attorney thinks differently:
‘There’s a little white square right here in his hand. I believe the video shows that the drugs were originally in his right hand and transfers into his left hand. If you watch, he looks down to make sure they are there. That’s when the drugs were implanted.’
Goldstein reported, though, the judge doesn’t seem to see it that way. However, no decisions were made, and the issue will drag on into December. However, the LAPD has said they will open an internal investigation into the case.
Officers Lee and Gaxiola have refused to comment on the findings. Furthermore, after the video was shown, Officer Lee left the courtroom. Shields’ attorney commented on that:
‘He looked dumbstruck to me. Period. He really had no answers.’
Watching the video, one can definitely come up with an answer. The LAPD planted the drugs on Shields. Not only did they plant the drugs on it, the officer (Gaxiola) then bragged about it multiple times. It’s evidence that Gaxiola is an officer seeking an ego boost and a pat on the back. He just didn’t know his body camera actually was recording it.
What is the point of using body cameras if officers have the ability to turn them on and off at their own whim? Until it is a requirement for officers across America to run body cameras non-stop, this will continue to happen. Until that day, more black men and women are going down for crimes they never even committed. The sad fact though, is that plenty of video evidence has shown officers killing black men and women, yet they still have gotten away with it. This is also a problem within our own society. Until white people can realize that a cop is not the epitome of justice and can be bad and have disgusting opinions, black men and women will still continue to suffer at the hands of police officers across the nation.
Featured image via Youtube.