I haven’t commented in some time on the double standard applied to cops when they’re found driving drunk — mainly because it’s so common. If a cop is found to be DUI, he’s usually usually given a free pass — aka "professional courtesy"; if there’s an accident with witnesses, he never gets jail time. See, e.g., The DUI Double Standard, The Blue Cover-Up and The DUI Double Standard 2.
The following account from yesterday’s news, however, cries out to be read:
"You Suck": DPD Officer to Silverthorne Officer During DUI Arrest
Denver, CO. July 22 – His blood alcohol level measured three times the legal limit when he crashed his Jeep, swore at officers and demanded special treatment. Now, a Denver Police officer’s behavior that was caught on tape is being used as an example by the city’s Independent Monitor to call for more discipline in the department.
According to an arrest report from the Silverthorne Police Department, off-duty Denver Police Officer Jesse M. Sandoval drove his Jeep Cherokee off the road in the 200 block of Wildernest Road just after 8 p.m. on Feb. 17, 2010.
When officers approached Sandoval, he claimed he was on his cell phone when he swerved off the road, but Silverthorne officers said his speech was slurred, his eyes were watery and pink and he smelled of alcohol. He also stated he had a gun in the vehicle, which was confiscated by Silverthorne Police.
The report says Sandoval identified himself as a Denver Police officer and asked for the responding officers to "help a fellow officer out and take him home."
One officer recorded the incident on her iPhone as they took Sandoval into custody. In audio recordings obtained by 9NEWS, Sandoval could be heard screaming obscenities at the Silverthorne officers and asking for special treatment.
"I’ll tell you what; we used to take care of police when I used to work in Chicago. We take care of each other. You suck. I have never, ever, ever (expletive) another policeman. And I don’t know what you guys do up here," he said. "You guys are being over the top because you think I’m a bad policeman. I’m such a bad person. I didn’t do anything you (expletive) haven’t done in your lifetime."
He went on for almost 40 minutes while the Silverthorne officers took care of paperwork and transported him to the Summit County Medical Center for a blood alcohol screen.
"You are the biggest (expletive) I’ve ever met. I worked in Chicago. Chicago PD and now I work in Denver. You know what, I’ve worked in two big cities and you know what, this is not the way we treated (expletive) the police, never. God bless you. I hope you feel good about yourself when you go home tonight," Sandoval said.
Sandoval pleaded guilty to DUI charges and was sentenced to 30 days of electronic monitoring, 48 hours of community service and 12 months of probation in the Summit County Court. He had no prior criminal history in Colorado and was previously awarded the Denver Police Department’s Medal of Valor. 9NEWS tried to contact Sandoval by email for a comment but did not receive a response.
It was what happened with his punishment at the Denver Police Department that has the Independent Monitor questioning discipline.
According to Denver Police, Sandoval served a 26-day probation period before returning to the job. The Independent Monitor believes that was adequate for the DUI offense, but stated in his report that officers who use their position to try to get out of trouble should face additional disciplinary action.
"While the discipline imposed for the Driving Under the Influence and the Unlawful Weapon Possession was reasonable and within the scope of post-discipline matrix protocol, the discipline for the officer’s attempts to obtain preferential treatment was insufficient," Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal said…
Hmmmm….Crashed his car, had 3 times the legal limit, tried to get preferential treatment, swore at cops — and he still never did any jail time.