A Philadelphia police officer has been charged after bodycam footage of him dragging a man out of his car without explanation and then deleting footage of the arrest from the man’s phone.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that Officer Tyree Burnett was charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and official suppression.
On March 23, Burnett approached Jacob Giddings’ car at a gas station around 10:20 p.m.
Scroll down for video
On March 23, Burnett approached Jacob Giddings’ car and asked him to leave his vehicle without explanation, according to Giddings’ attorney, Lennon Edwards.
Body camera footage records Burnett answering the phone and allegedly deleting Giddings’ video of the arrest
Officer Tyree Burnett (pictured) was charged Wednesday with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and official suppression.
According to Lennon Edwards, one of Giddings’ attorneys, Burnett asked for Giddings’ identification and told him to get out of the car, but wouldn’t explain why.
When Giddings refused, Burnett opened the door of his car, at which point Giddings informed the officer that he was recording the situation and said, “I’ve got you on camera, go ahead and grab me again.”
Burnett then dragged him from his vehicle while he and his passenger recorded the altercation. Giddings’ phone fell as he was removed from his vehicle.
Burnett’s body camera continued to record as he picks up Giddings’ phone from the ground and appears to erase the recording of the arrest.
When Giddings asked what happened to the video, or if he was still on the phone, the officer said he didn’t know.
Giddings and his passenger informed the officer that they were recording the interaction when Giddings dropped his phone as he was physically removed from his vehicle
When Giddings later asked the officer what had happened to the recording, Burnett replied that he didn’t know
Edwards has said an arrest warrant was issued for Giddings’ arrest for an incident that took place in November 2020, but claims his client was unaware.
“There’s dishonesty going on here,” Edward said CBS 3“Evidence is being tampered with here and it is deadly. It harms. It harms the community.’
“While this happened in Philadelphia, this is happening across the country,” Edwards said. ‘This makes it clear what is going on. It exposes a certain incident, but this is a common problem.’
“We’re looking for a serious response from the people who should be doing something, starting with the department where he worked and moving up the ladder,” says Edwards. ABC news.
Giddings’ attorney, Edwards, explained that while his client is seeking monetary damages, he also hopes for police reform.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has stated she plans to fire Burnett after his current 30-day suspension
“What this officer did was erase evidence. He is essentially tipping the scales of justice in his favor.’
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw confirmed that Burnett, a four-year veteran of the police force, was placed on limited duty in April and suspended for 30 days. She plans to “fire after the end of the 30 days.”
Giddings will seek monetary damages, but his Edwards clarified that what his client really wants is police reform.
Body cameras were introduced in Philadelphia in 2014 and are worn by just over half of the city’s patrol officers.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, discussed the benefits of body cameras in an interview with: WHY explaining: ‘It is an absolute key to the responsibility of the police. And it is an absolute key to our ability to prove cases against people who have committed crimes.”