Philadelphia, PA -- A Philadelphia police officer is currently the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation for allegedly deleting cell phone footage of an arrest involving a suspect he arrested in March for an outstanding warrant. The suspect, Jacob Giddings, was sitting inside his vehicle at a gas station with a friend when the arrest took place.
According to the police report, obtained by Revolt news, Officer Burnett noticed the vehicle, ran the license plates, and discovered Giddings had a warrant for his arrest for assault charges. Burnette made contact with Giddings who attempted to record his arrest, letting officer Burnette know he was doing so. Giddings was then forcibly removed from his vehicle, placed in handcuffs, had his cell phone confiscated, and his vehicle searched.
Officer Burnette then, allegedly, deleted Giddings cell phone videos of the incident but it can hardly be considered an allegation since the officer can clearly be seen on body camera footage scrolling through the suspect’s phone (an action which normally requires a search warrant) and deleting any videos the young man had recorded of his contact with Officer Burnette.
After Giddings and Burnette were in the squad car together, Giddings reportedly asked Burnette if his videos were still on his cell phone to which Burnette reportedly answered, “I don’t know”.
The officer did know because he could clearly be seen deleting the videos in question. The apparent lie told to the person he was arresting has now called into question every case Burnette has been involved with.
If the officer has been in a habit of deleting evidence, and lying on police reports (he made no mention of deleting videos in the arrest report), then every person who has been prosecuted by Burnette’s police actions could potentially see their cases overturned. In other words, it appears Burnette may be a dirty cop.
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Police charged Giddings with resisting arrest and drug possession (cannabis). Giddings has since hired an attorney and is suing the Philadelphia Police Department for violating his civil rights, for using excessive force and assault, tampering with evidence, false arrest and malicious prosecution. Giddings’ lawyer, Donte Mills of Mills &. Edwards LLP, recovered the deleted video of his arrest by accessing Giddings’ iCloud account.
Having the tables turned, Burnette is now the subject of an internal affairs investigation. Philadelphia PD issued the following statement to the press saying their officer has been reassigned while the investigation is taking place.
This incident is currently under investigation with our Internal Affairs Bureau...The officer involved has been placed on administrative duty status pending the outcome of the internal investigation.
Critics of law enforcement have claimed for decades upon decades the system they are trying to reform is rife with corruption. Fortunately, the entire incident was caught on body camera footage or else there would be no proof to support Giddings’ claims.
It is unclear how much time Giddings spent in jail from the incident which took place in March but without a doubt, it seems, a jury will have no problem siding with Giddings and his defense attorneys in their civil suit against the police department.
Such a settlement will not be paid for by Burnette, who will most likely get to keep his job, but will be paid for by the taxpayers instead. This incident is precisely why many members of the public want qualified immunity to be a thing of the past. In their minds, Giddings should be able to sue Burnette for what he has clearly done to hide the facts and evidence surrounding what should have amounted to a simple arrest.