An LAPD officer’s body camera allegedly taped him planting cocaine on a suspect during a hit-and-run incident.
KCBS-TV reported that defense attorneys argued that the damning video, which was played in court on November 9, caught LAPD Officer Samuel Lee in a huge lie. The footage reportedly entailed Ronald Shields, 52, being arrested in April on felony hit-and-run and cocaine possession charges.
Though Lee testified that they recovered cocaine from Shields’ left front pocket, the video appears to show Officer Gaxiola picking up a small baggie containing white powder, presenting it to Lee, and placing it into a wallet.
Gaxiola is seen hitting ‘record’ on his bodycam before finding the baggie in Shields’ wallet and alerting Lee to his discovery. Gaxiola can be later be heard bragging about unearthing “a little bag of narco” on the suspect.
The local station noted that Gaxiola was possibly unaware that the bodycam captures footage, without audio, 30 seconds before it’s manually turned on. Those 30 seconds also allegedly showed Lee witnessing Gaxiola plant the drugs in the man’s wallet.
“I believe the video shows the drugs were in his right hand and transfers to his left hand,” Levine commented.
Lee, who originally claimed that the drugs fell out of Shields’ pocket, was rendered speechless when the footage was presented in court.
“He looked dumbstruck to me,” Levine said. “Period. He had really no answer.”
Gaxiola has yet to testify. Gizmodo reported that neither officer has faced disciplinary action for April’s arrest.
The hearing is expected to reconvene in December.
[Featured Image: KCBS Video Screenshot]