Two Utica police officers have been allegedly caught on tape trying to plant drugs on an African-American couple that was pulled over early last year.
The video, which was filmed in February 2011 and uploaded to YouTube on Jan 2nd by the Utica Phoenix, has since gone viral, showing the officers searching the car as the man stands handcuffed.
During the clip, shown below, you can clearly see a police officer reaching into his back pocket (at the 1:03 minute mark of the video), pulling out what appears to be a small plastic bag and reaching the bag back into the car.
Moments later, the same police officer can be seen (at the 1:30 minute mark of the video) pulling out a similar-looking bag (but larger and fuller) out of the car and walking away from the vehicle.
Watch the alleged Utica Police drug plant video below:
The concern raised by this video is the possibility that the police officer planted drugs on the African-American couple during the traffic stop.
The Digital Journal points out that, since its upload, the shortened clip of the 11-month old traffic stop has been widely distributed throughout the Black community of Utica and has “fueled an onslaught of complaints against the Utica Police of the planting of evidence and other abuses by the local force.”
In response to the uproar, the Utica Police Department released the entire 30-minute dashcam video, which Police Chief Mark Williams says gives the “whole story.”
“He’s going into the car with it and that’s what he’s doing, it’s cold out and he’s basically separating the drugs from both defendants,” Chief Williams told WKTV. “He temporarily placed [the drugs] in his own pocket as he continued to search the perps and the vehicle”
Williams added that the officer knew the camera was on and recording the traffic stop, and was aware that everything going on in front of the police car could be seen by the cruiser’s dash cam.
As far as the claim by the suspects alleging the officer was planting the baggie of drugs in the vehicle, and the subsequent report by the Utica Phoenix, Williams explained:
“Obviously it’s a personal opinion someone has, maybe an agenda. 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.”
Watch the full video captured by the Utica officer’s dash cam below: