July 22, 2021
A Philadelphia police officer who allegedly deleted video from a man's cellphone during a traffic stop in March was arrested Wednesday on multiple charges, according to the department.
Tyree Burnett has been charged with obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence and official oppression, court documents show. According to a statement from Philadelphia police, Burnett has been with the department for four years and was last assigned to the 35th District.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in the statement that she has suspended Burnett for 30 days and intends to dismiss the officer once the suspension ends.
Body camera footage obtained by CBS3 shows Burnett allegedly deleting a video from Jacob Giddings' cellphone after arresting Giddings at a gas station on East Champlost Avenue in Olney. The TV station was given the video by Giddings' attorney, Lennon Edwards with Mills & Edwards LLP.
Edwards told 6ABC that there was an active warrant out for Giddings' arrest related to an incident from November but said Giddings wasn't aware of that when Burnett stopped him. Giddings told Burnett that he was going to record their interaction, Edwards said.
"The moment that he says that, the officer begins to pull him out of the vehicle, you see his phone drop," Edwards told 6ABC.
Giddings was placed in police custody, and that's when Burnett was caught on his own body camera allegedly deleting the video from Giddings' cellphone, Edwards said. It remains unclear if the video was actually deleted, according to 6ABC.
Giddings reportedly filed a lawsuit against the Philadelphia Police Department in June. At the time, Outlaw told FOX 29 that Burnett had been on "restricted duty" since April and that internal investigators were looking into the incident.