Wisconsin police department releases footage it says exonerates officer accused of planting evidence
Hours after a Twitter user accused a Wisconsin police officer of planting evidence, the Caledonia Police Department released body camera footage it said disputed the accuser's account. Law enforcement said officers stopped a vehicle on Wednesday at approximately 3:22 p.m. for traveling at 63 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone. Moments later, officers removed the driver and rear passengers from the vehicle, and following a pat-down of one of the men, they located an "empty corner tear" plastic bag that did not contain narcotics, police added.
The department said the searching officer handed the baggie to another officer, who then turned the baggie over to the officer seen on camera, who placed the empty baggie in the vehicle as a means of discarding it.
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"The front seat passenger tells the officer that his actions are on video, and the officer replies that he is also recording the incident," Christopher Botsch, chief of police, wrote in the department's Facebook post on Saturday. "The officer acknowledges to the front seat passenger that he (officer) put the item there and explains that it was taken from one of the passengers and the officer did not want to 'hold on to it.' Essentially, he appears to be discarding the empty baggie."
Botsch did "discourage officers from discarding items into a citizen’s vehicle," though he rejected the suggestion law enforcement planted evidence.
"The video is clear that the officer is NOT planting evidence or doing anything illegal. Additionally, the empty corner tear is not itself illegal," he wrote.
Earlier in the day, footage posted by a Twitter user appeared to show an officer with the Caledonia Police Department dropping something in the back seat of a sedan while a passenger recorded the incident. The video was accompanied by the caption, "Cop caught in 4K planting evidence," and the user posted a link to the department, apparently encouraging people to heckle authorities.
"Hey, buddy, you just threw that in here," the unidentified man is heard saying on tape.
No arrests were made during the stop, and the driver was issued a citation for his speed, according to Botsch.
In all, six hours of body camera footage were developed through four different officers, and the department expects to release all the footage at a later date.
Original Author: Jake Dima