Cops, Crooks and Smarts

WC is a lawyer. Back in the day, WC did some criminal defense. And one of the things every criminal defense lawyer learns is that a lot of the players in the criminal law game just aren’t that smart.

There was Jody Wilson. City of Fairbanks Policeman Dave Curwen knocked on Wilson’s door and said, “I’m here to investigate the theft of some lumber,” after following tracks in the snow from the crime scene to Wilson’s door. Wilson responded, “Yeah, that’s us.”

There was the Alaska State Trooper who testified he had sex with the prostitute because otherwise “I couldn’t be sure a crime had been committed.” The trooper’s wife was in the courtroom. That state trooper gave WC a lot of grief for years afterward.

But there’s dumb and then there’s corrupt and dumb. Like Baltimore Police Department’s Officer Richard Pinheiro.

Police body cameras have a feature that saves the 30 seconds of video before activation, but without audio. When the officer is first in the alley, there is no audio but you can watch Officer Pinheiro plant the drugs and then “discover” the drugs with his body cam fully on. Bad enough that the suspect has been in jail since January as a result of Pinheiro’s corruption. Bad enough that he involved two other cops in his crime — the other two other officers seen in the video observing Pinheiro are Officers Hovhannes Simonyan and Jamal Brunson.

But even wrose, Pinheiro, according to the Baltimore Public Defender’s office, is a witness in as many as 53 other active cases, according to the Baltimore Sun. Which is worse: that Pinheiro may have planted evidence in those other cases or that those are legitimate busts but his conduct here pretty much gives the perps a get out of jail free card?

The Baltimore Police Department has a long history of corruption, venality and worse. According to the Baltimore Sun, Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the local police union that represents Officer Pinheiro, urged people not to “jump to conclusions.” WC suspects he didn’t mean to be ironic. Because that’s exactly what Officer Pinheiro wanted folks to do.

He just wasn’t smart enough to bring it off.