CALEDONIA, Wis. — Caledonia’s police chief is speaking out after a viral video accused an officer of planting evidence in a vehicle.
“The allegation that the officer planted evidence is absolutely 100 percent untrue. And that was proven when we received all the body cam footage,” said Caledonia Police Chief Chris Botsch.
The police department also released two other body worn cameras from their officers that show the officer placing a plastic bag that was originally taken from the backseat passenger’s pocket by another officer, and given to the officer who put it in the car. An unidentified front seat passenger questions the officer as he put the baggie in the vehicle.
That video was posted to the Caledonia Police Department’s Facebook page. Here is part of the exchange:
Front seat passenger: “Hey bro you just threw that in here.”
Police officer: “Yeah, because it was in his pocket and I don’t want to hold on to it. It's on their body cam that they took it off of him, so.”
The officer says it is an empty baggie. Chief Botsch says it is not evidence and that is is basically trash.
“I think it is unfortunate that a short cell phone clip can generate all this negative attention. Luckily we do have body cameras and they support our version of events and lead us in a direction where we could quickly determine what had occurred in this incident,” said Botsch.
Body cameras are a relatively new addition for Caledonia police officers. They have had them since June of last year.
“If we did not have body cameras, I’m fearful that we would never really know what happened here, and there would be a cloud of suspicion on the officer and the police department,” said Botsch.
TMJ4 News checked to see what area police departments do not have body cameras. There are 15 other departments in Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Waukesha counties that do not have body cameras:
- Cudahy Police
- Elm Grove Police
- Fox Point Police
- Franklin Police
- Hartland Police
- Kenosha Police
- Menomonee Falls Police
- Mukwonago Police
- New Berlin Police
- North Prairie Police
- Oak Creek Police
- Summit Police
- Waterford Police
- Waukesha Police
- Waukesha County Sheriff
According to Caledonia police, the car was pulled over for going 18 miles over the speed limit, and two of the people inside the car were not wearing their seat belts. So why the search?
“Aren’t those $10 tickets for not having a seat belt in the state of Wisconsin? You have maybe a person who gets a speeding ticket and two people who get seat belt violations?” asked TMJ4 News reporter Rebecca Klopf.
“They are $10 tickets in the state of Wisconsin. However, you have to be able to issue that citation to an individual, and if that individual doesn’t identify themselves, they don’t explain who they are, if they don’t say who they are - then you have to extend the length of that traffic stop because then you have to identify individuals who are unwilling to identify themselves,” said Botsch.
Police say the people inside the car gave permission for the search.
Botsch says the officer is not facing any discipline for the search. But the police department is reviewing the whole incident to see if the officers were following all policies and procedures.
“This is a good opportunity to review the entire incident from start to finish,” said Botsch. “This is an opportunity to look at it and make sure we are [correct]. And if we are not, then we should make corrections.”