@sivrajxx on Twitter Remix by Cecilia Lenzen

Video: Cop accused of planting evidence in a man’s car before inspecting it

The police department released its own footage of the incident in response to the viral video.

 

Cecilia Lenzen

IRL

Published Jul 25, 2021   Updated Jul 26, 2021, 11:48 am CDT

Viral video footage seemingly shows a police officer in Caledonia, Wisconsin planting evidence in a civilian’s car during a traffic stop before inspecting it. 

Twitter user Ivan Ooze or @sivrajxx shared the cell phone video footage, saying, “Cop caught in 4K planting evidence.” It’s unclear if Ooze is the person who recorded the video. 

The video appears to show a Village of Caledonia police officer approach the backseat of the vehicle and toss a torn up baggy inside. The man recording the video, seated in the front passenger seat, asked the officer, “what’s that?” to which the officer replied, “what’s what?”

The man in the passenger seat warns the officer that he had him on camera, but the officer casually responded that he also had video footage via his body camera.

“We’re all good,” the officer said. 

The tweeted video quickly went viral with over 62,000 retweets and almost 8,000 comments. 

Several Twitter users backed Ooze, shocked that the officer did such a thing. 

“There is no doubt he threw that bag in. Unbelievable,” user @securlyblankist tweeted. 

“He even turned his body so it won’t show up on his body cam,” user @charliebrown160 accused. 

“It’s the casualness that revolts me,” user @Meinhart_BXL said. 

Several other viewers withheld their immediate judgment, urging the police department to post the body cam footage from the officer. 

Christopher Botsch, Chief of Police at the Village of Caledonia Police Department, issued a statement on Facebook on July 24.

Update – Social Media VideoVideo 1 of 2. See comments for video two. On 07-21-21 at about 3:22pm, officers conducted a traffic stop for a vehicle traveling 63 mph in a 45 mph zone. The vehicle was occupied by a driver along with front and rear passengers. The driver was identified by her driver’s license. The front passenger lawfully declined to identify himself. The rear passengers were not wearing their seat-belts and were asked to identify themselves. The driver and rear passengers were later removed from the vehicle. A subsequent search of one of the rear passengers produced an empty corner tear (corner of a plastic baggie) from a passenger’s pocket. The empty corner tear did NOT contain any illegal substance; however, this type of packaging is a common method for holding illegal drugs. The empty corner tear was turned over by the searching officer to another officer who was on scene. That officer turned it over to the officer who is seen on video. Since there were NO DRUGS in the corner tear, the officers discarded the empty packaging material in the vehicle. This is what was observed in the video.The front seat passenger tells the officer that his actions are on video, and the officer replies that he is also recording the incident. 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. While we would discourage officers from discarding items into a citizen’s vehicle, the video is clear that the officer is NOT planting evidence or doing anything illegal. Additionally, the empty corner tear is not itself illegal.No arrests were made as a result of this incident. The only arrest/citation arising from this incident was a speeding citation issued to the driver.While this is only a summary of the events, the origin of the empty corner tear and the circumstances under which it was placed in the vehicle are supported by body worn camera video. Attached are two video clips (see comments for second video). There are two separate clips because they are from different officer’s body worn cameras.Since four officers were present on scene, the body worn camera footage and squad camera footage totals in excess of 6 hours of video. We are still in the process of reviewing the videos. All videos, in their entirety, will be released in the very near future. Christopher BotschChief of Police

Posted by Village of Caledonia Police Department on Saturday, July 24, 2021

After the vehicle was stopped for driving 63 mph in a 45 mph speed zone, the driver and rear passengers were removed from the vehicle, according to the statement. 

One of the rear passengers was searched by officers, who supposedly found an empty corner tear of a plastic baggie in his pocket. The corner tear did not contain did not contain illegal drugs, but that “type of packaging is a common method for holding illegal drugs,” according to the statement. 

The officer who conducted the search handed the corner tear to another officer on the scene, who was seen in the cell phone footage. Since the bag was empty, the officer tossed it in the backseat of the car. 

“This is what was observed in the video,” Botsch stated. 

According to the statement, no arrests were made, and the only citation arising from the incident was a speeding citation for the driver of the vehicle.

Still, social media users weren’t buying it. 

“No. Absolute BS. Look how he puts the glove on after he drops the bag like he’s gonna start being careful and not contaminate any evidence he “finds,” one Facebook user commented on the statement. 

“Every single one of those officer’s arrests needs to be thoroughly investigated,” another viewer said. 

“What was the probable cause for them being searched in the first place? You don’t search someone’s car because they’re speeding!!! This video is some bs and the statement made! Show the alleged 6 hours of footage, we got time!!!!” another Facebook user pointed out. 


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*First Published: Jul 25, 2021, 1:29 pm CDT