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Published on June 20, 2024
Former Vero Beach Officer Charged With Tampering Evidence After Discarding Marijuana During Traffic StopSource: Vero Beach Police Department

In Florida, a former Vero Beach police officer has found himself on the wrong side of the law. Christian Butterfield, 31, was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence after a body-worn camera review of a June 1 traffic stop led to the discovery of Butterfield's illicit disposal of marijuana confiscated during the encounter. The investigation, initiated on June 4, resulted in Butterfield's resignation from the force eight days later, as reported by WPTV.

During the traffic stop in question, captured on Butterfield's body-worn camera, a "baggie" of marijuana weighing 27 grams was located, as Butterfield's sergeant, having issues with him, sparked the review due to discrepancies in paperwork. While the legal weight limit for possession in Florida is 20 grams, Butterfield was taped suggesting to dump the marijuana after a brief exchange in which the driver pleaded, "Can we just really dump it?" Instructed by Butterfield to do so, another officer opened the trunk and placed the passenger, handcuffed, into Butterfield's patrol vehicle after removing the driver's handcuffs, as per the affidavit outlined by CBS12.

The incident continued to unfold as the body-worn camera footage revealed the driver confessing his daily use of marijuana for self-medication purposes stating, "I use personally every day. it helps me 'cause I don't have the medicine for the ADHD and bipolar," according to the CBS12. Following the roadside deliberations, both the driver and an underage passenger were eventually released from the scene.

Further complications arose when the Vero Beach Police Department's attempt to retrieve the discarded marijuana was thwarted, as the contents of the dumpster where Butterfield had disposed of the evidence had already been collected by city garbage trucks. After turning himself in, Butterfield posted a $10,000 bond and was released, having already stepped down from his role in the department, confirmed by authorities in a statement obtained by WPTV. The internal probe into Butterfield's actions remains ongoing.

Miami-Crime & Emergencies