Cops appear to plant drugs, stun teen in newly released police footage

Police department cameras appeared to show officers in Baltimore planting evidence and Tennessee deputies repeatedly using a taser on a restrained teenager, as the department's own video footage is spurring case dismissals and lawsuits that are beginning to draw national attention.

Surveillance video of a November incident showing Jordan Norris being repeatedly tased by Cheatham County Sheriff's deputies in Tennessee surfaced after a lawsuit was filed accusing the officers of using excessive force, The Tennessean reported. 

 

Norris, who was 18 at the time, is seen being held down by three deputies -- identified as Mark Bryant, Josh Marriott and Jeff Key -- with a white rag placed over his mouth. A stun gun is pushed on his chest four times, sometimes close to his heart. 

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Norris suffered at least 40 pairs of taser burns throughout his body after being tased, indicating there could have been more shocks that weren't shown on camera. The Tennessean reported. The Use of Force report indicated the deputies stunned Norris multiple times because he was being "very combative," forcing them to use the taser on him to "gain compliance." 

But the lawsuit said the deputies were acting in a "sadistic and malicious nature in repeatedly tasing Plaintiff Norris, such that the force was unreasonable." Norris also suffered a mental health episode a few days after the November arrest. 

The deputies continued to stun Norris while yelling "stop restraining" even when they continued to hold the teenager down, the suit claimed. 

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Bryant, Marriott and Key were placed on administrative leave after the lawsuit was filed. Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove also released a statement Friday saying "not all the video footage was presented at the time of the briefing." 

The incident comes as the Baltimore police department is embroiled in its own controversy surrounding police actions caught on camera -- this time body cams. Earlier this week, charges were dropped in a case after police body-camera video "appears to depict multiple officers working together to manufacture evidence," a public defender said.

The footage, which was released on Tuesday, showed officers coming up empty during an initial vehicle search, the Baltimore Sun reported. But 30 minutes later, an officer leans down to the same area -- this time picking up a bag of alleged drugs that seemed to appear out of nowhere. 

Public defenders said the officers manipulated evidence and planted drugs in the woman's vehicle. This was the second video showing officers allegedly fabricating evidence, according to the Baltimore Sun. The first video, released last month, showed an officer placing a bag of white pills in a lot in January. He then goes out to the street and flips the camera on to record him picking up the seemingly planted "drugs" in the lot. The camera, however, automatically captures the 30 seconds before the officer activates it, which is how the cop's drug drop was accidentally recorded.

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Though the two criminal cases were dropped, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis told the Baltimore Sun Wednesday there was "no doubt" illegal drugs were recovered in both incidents despite what the cameras show. Davis added an investigation into the incidents are being conducted, but warned about jumping to a conclusion. 

"It would be premature of me to stand in front of you and reach a conclusion as to exactly what happened," Davis said. "But I do know that it’s not healthy to jump to a conclusion that police officers did something criminal."