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Vero Beach officer resigns, accused of dumping 20+ grams driver's marijuana

VERO BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — An officer from the Vero Beach Police Department (VBPD) has been accused of tampering with evidence after allegedly dumping over 20 grams of marijuana from a suspect.



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On June 3, VBPD started an internal investigation on Officer Christian Butterfield, 31, regarding a violation during a traffic stop on June 1.


Investigators revealed through body-worn camera footage that Butterfield made a traffic stop and asked the suspect to exit the vehicle due to smelling marijuana when they drove by. Butterfield searched the car and reported finding what he believed to be over twenty grams of marijuana, which he then proceeded to put in the trunk of his patrol vehicle, according to the arrest affidavit.


While the driver and passenger are detained, Butterfield explains that possessing over twenty grams of marijuana is a felony and then proceeds to ask the driver if it is theirs. The body cam footage reflected their alleged conversation, according to the affidavit.

The driver replied, "I'll be honest, yeah. I use personally every day. it helps me 'cause I don't have the medicine for the ADHD and bipolar."


The report states that the two continue to discuss the driver's previous arrest and aspirations.

After this conversation, the driver asks, "Can we just dump it?"


Butterfield responds, "I'm really leaning towards that. I think I'm going to help you out with that. You seem like a good kid, and maybe you're just hanging out with some questionable people."


According to investigators, Butterfield instructed the other officer on the scene to remove the driver's handcuffs and place the passenger, handcuffed, into the backseat of his patrol vehicle.


Once Butterfield realizes the passenger is a juvenile, he states, "You can go off," the report says.


Investigators revealed that Butterfield then headed back to the VBPD and located a dumpster in the area where he placed the marijuana he obtained from the driver.


Butterfield allegedly returned to work, and an internal investigation commenced, leading to the resignation of Butterfield.


Investigators attempted to locate the marijuana in the dumpster, but the City of Vero Beach Garbage Truck had already collected and disposed of it.


Butterfield turned himself in on Wednesday and has been charged with tampering with evidence felony

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