FBI to review video alleged to show police planting drugs
(The relevant times on this video are @ 2:08:45 AM where it looks like something was dropped out of the hand of one of the officers,
Then @ 2:15:36 AM its shows them pick something up and put it back in the car/ visor area.)
The FBI will analyze a dash-camera video that defense lawyers claim shows two El Paso police officers planting a baggie of cocaine during a traffic stop on Christmas Eve 2009.
A judge on Monday indefinitely postponed a hearing in 384th District Court until the FBI completes an analysis of a DVD showing the arrest of Ernesto Adrian Burciaga, who has filed a writ seeking his conviction be overturned.
“It’s important the judge, the DA’s office and the defense, everybody knows what is exactly on that recording. I think it would be premature to have this hearing until the recording is analyzed,” Burciaga’s lawyer, James D. Lucas, said.
Lucas had said Burciaga pleaded guilty to a cocaine possession charge to get probation and that Burciaga did not know that he would face deportation, a claim prosecutors deny.
Burciaga, 36, who is a legal resident married to a U.S. citizen, is in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities.
In a written response, prosecutors argued that Burciaga pleaded guilty because he is guilty and that he is now making false allegations against officers who did nothing wrong.
The soundless video shows police chasing and stopping a car on Old Pueblo Road on Dec. 24, 2009.
In documents, Burciaga’s lawyer claims the video shows an officer reach into his pocket and drop a small bag of cocaine on the street that is later picked up by another officer who places the item in the driver’s-side visor.
The video shows
Officer Benito Madrid reach into a pocket before a small white item is seen falling down next to Madrid’s leg.
It is unclear what the item is, and some say it could possibly be the beam of the officer’s flashlight reflecting off the car door.
The other officer, Victor Almanza, said in an affidavit that the item he picked up from the street was a piece of paper that fell from the car and that he returned it to the visor. A paper is seen flutter out at 2:12:32 in the video.
According to a police report, officers saw Burciaga toss a small white item (allegedly less than half a gram of cocaine) as the car slowed down. Burciaga said he threw out smokeless tobacco, which is a legal substance.
Prosecutors also stated that transcripts show Burciaga was told at least three times in court that he could face deportation if convicted.