UTICA, N.Y. — When Cassandra Harris-Lockwood, a community activist who also serves as the publisher of the Utica Phoenix weekly newspaper put video on the paper’s website she attracted so much web traffic she accidentally crashed the site. But the one-minute, forty-second video entitled “Utica, NY police planting evidence” tells only a tiny portion of the story, says Utica Police Chief Mark Williams.
Following the hue and cry made by the public to the selectively-edited snippet of video which went ‘viral’ on the Internet, Chief Williams “released the entire 30-minute recording to show all of the circumstances surrounding an incident in which he believes no wrong occurred,” said a report in the Utica Observer Dispatch.
While the version posted by Harris-Lockwood shows only the portion of the traffic stop during which Utica police Officer Paul Paladino takes a clear plastic baggie from his pocket, the 30-minute long version vindicates the officer’s actions.
A Utica-area representative of the NAACP is reportedly “convinced” the edited portion of the video captures Officer Paladino “in the act of planting evidence,” but Chief Williams and District Attorney Scott McNamara argue that “officers sometimes have no choice but to put recovered evidence in their pockets while searching a suspect on the street.”
“If I have an officer who is planting drugs,” said Chief Williams in a video he released to the public via the Utica Observer Dispatch, “I can assure you that I’ll do the right thing and he won’t have a job with the Utica Police Department.”
Check out that report, as well as the full 30-minute video of the traffic stop by clicking here. The YouTube version of the video is below.