The District Attorney’s office of Pueblo, Colorado, dropped felony drug and weapons charges against Joseph Cajar after officer Seth Jensen admitted to staging body camera footage of a search of Cajar’s car.
In November 2016, Cajar’s car was pulled over and searched by Jensen. According to authorities, Jensen unearthed seven grams of heroin and a firearm in the vehicle. Cajar was arrested, charged and detained pending trial.
However, following a preliminary hearing in March, Jensen texted Pueblo’s deputy district attorney, Anne Mayer, admitted that the body camera footage submitted as evidence was fake, Gizmodo reported.
The Pueblo Chieftain obtained text messages that Mayer wrote. They included: “You’ll have to watch your body cam before the motions to make sure the report and the camera are the same.”
Jensen replied: “For the search, the body cam shows different than the report because it was. Prior to turning my body cam on I conducted the search. Once I found the s—, I stepped back, called, then activated my body cam and walked the courts through it.”
Mayer then answered: “What was in the report? If not you’ve got to write a supplement explaining that your body cam was off during the search and the body cam that does exist is a reenactment.”
Jensen admitted to conducting his search prior to turning on his body camera, and said that once weapons and drugs were found, he called over another officer and turned on his camera to reenact the search.
Cajar’s attorney wrote a letter to The Pueblo Chieftain, saying: “All indications in the discovery and during his testimony at the preliminary hearing indicated the body camera footage actually represented the sequence of events as they developed regarding the search.”
The attorney said that Jensen sounds “surprised” throughout the footage, which ARS Technica obtained, misleading the viewer to believe it was his initial search.
The case has now been dismissed and Jensen’s actions are under investigation to see if he violated policy.
Officer Seth Jensen
Officer Seth Jensen is a cop in Pueblo, Colorado, who pulled over Joseph Cajar last November. Cajar was unable to provide his registration or insurance for the car, resulting in the car being towed. When the vehicle was searched at the tow years, Jensen found nearly seven grams of heroin and a gun. Jensen’s body cam was not turned on, however, so he reenacted the search with the video recording.
The DA’s office was forced to drop the charges.