A Philadelphia cop has been charged after bodycam footage recorded 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 oppression.
On March 23, Burnett approached Jacob Giddings’ car at a gas station around 10:20 pm.
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On March 23, Burnett approached Jacob Giddings’ car asking him to exit his vehicle without any explanation, according to Giddings’ lawyer, Lennon Edwards
Bodycamera footage records Burnett picking up the phone and allegedly deleting Giddings’ video of the arrest
Officer Tyree Burnett (pictured) was charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and official oppression on Wednesday
According to Lennon Edwards, one of Giddings’ attorneys, Burnett asked for Giddings’ identification and told him to get out of the car, but would not give him an explanation as to why.
When Giddings refused, Burnett opened his car door which is when Giddings informed the officer that he was recording the situation saying ‘I got you on camera, go ahead and grab me again.’
Burnett then proceeded to drag him out of his vehicle as he and his passenger recorded the altercation. Giddings’ phone fell as he was removed from his vehicle.
Burnett’s bodycamera continued to record as he picks up Giddings’ phone from the ground and appears to delete the recording of the arrest.
When Giddings asked what happened to the video, or if it 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 physically removed from him vehicle
When Giddings later asked the officer what happened to the recording, Burnett replied that he did not know
Edwards has said that there was a warrant out for Giddings’ arrest for an incident that occurred in November 2020, but claims that his client was unaware.
‘There’s dishonesty happening here’, Edward told CBS 3, ‘There’s tampering with evidence here and it kills. It harms. It harms the community.’
‘While this happened in Philadelphia, this is something that happens all over the country,’ Edwards said. ‘This exposes what’s happening. It exposes a particular incident, but this is a prevalent issue.’
‘We’re looking for a serious reaction by the people who were supposed to do something, beginning with the department where he worked and moving on up the ladder,’ Edwards told ABC News.
Giddings’ lawyer Edwards explained that while his client is seeking monetary damages, he is also hoping to see police reform
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has stated that she plans to dismiss Burnett after his current 30-day suspension
‘What this officer did was deleting 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 force, was placed on restricted duty in April and has been suspended for 30 days. She intends ‘to dismiss after at the end of the 30 days.’
Giddings will seek monetary damages, but his Edwards clarified that what his client really wants is police reform.
Bodycameras were introduced in Philadelphia back in 2014 and are worn by a little over half the city’s patrol officers.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, discussed the benefits of bodycameras in an interview with WHYY explaining, ‘It is an absolute key to police accountability. And it’s an absolute key to our ability to prove cases against people who have committed crimes.’