Matthew Gorney didn't plant evidence in Black driver's car, bodycam videos show cop threw empty bag
Police officials claimed that officer Matthew Gorney was just placing an empty plastic bag he found in one of the passenger's pockets
CALEDONIA, WISCONSIN: Just one day after a police officer was accused with video proof of planting evidence on a Black driver, the respective police department has hit back with bodycam footage that exposes the claims as lies. Village of Caledonia Police Department officer Matthew Gorney was accused of attempting to "plant evidence" in the rear seat of a vehicle he pulled over for going way beyond the speed limit. The video shows the officer throwing something resembling a plastic bag at the backseat of the car as the person behind the camera warns him that he's being recorded. But the police department's newly released footage shows that Gorney was throwing the empty plastic 'corner tear' the car after not finding anything illegal inside it.
Occurring on the afternoon of Saturday, July 24, the incident saw three others officers along with Gorney pull over a vehicle for going 63 miles per hour in a 45-mile-per-hour zone. The driver was identified by her license, while the person on the front passenger seat refused to legally identify themselves. The passengers in the backseat didn't have their seatbelts on and were asked to identify themselves before being removed from the backseat later. The front passenger was the one who recorded the incident which was later posted by another person online with the caption “Cop caught in 4k planting evidence.”
As Gorney appears to be throwing something in the backseat of the car, the passenger filming him says, “I got you on camera, bro.” To that Gorney replies: "I got you on camera, we’re all good.” The passenger then pans the camera to the plastic in the backseat, telling Gorney: “Hey buddy, you just threw that in here.” And although no arrests made and just a speeding ticket issued, the incident continued earning rave traction online as the passengers hinted at wanting to pursue legal action.
Caledonia Police Chief Christopher Botsch then released two additional body camera footage from the scene, each from a separate officer present there to provide additional context regarding what really happened. According to the elaborate description given by Botch via the Facebook post of the two videos, officers can be seen searching one of the passengers from the back seat, outside the car, after finding an "empty corner tear." The corner tear referred to the corner of a plastic bag discovered in the passenger's pocket, with Botcsch further explaining in the summary of the investigation that "The empty corner tear did NOT contain any illegal substance; however, this type of packaging is a common method for holding illegal drugs."
The officer who was searching the passenger and made the discovery, passed the corner tear to another cop at the scene, who then gave it to the third officer identified as Gorney, the chief said. “Since there were NO DRUGS in the corner tear, the officers discarded the empty packaging material in the vehicle. This is what was observed in the video.” The second bodycam clip shows Gorney approaching the vehicle as the front seat passenger taking the cell phone video accuses him of tossing the plastic baggie in the car. Gorney can be heard replying to that, “Yeah, because it was in his pocket and I don’t want to hold onto it. It’s on their bodycam that they took it off of him.” He further added: "I’m telling you where it came from. It’s an empty baggie at the moment too."
Botsch noted in his statement: “While we would discourage officers from discarding items into a citizen’s vehicle, the video is clear that the officer is NOT planting evidence or doing anything illegal. Additionally, the empty corner tear is not itself illegal.” Botsch further added in his post: "Since four officers were present on scene, the body worn camera footage and squad camera footage totals in excess of 6 hours of video. We are still in the process of reviewing the videos. All videos, in their entirety, will be released in the very near future.”