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Cop Found Drunk Behind the Wheel Can't Be Prosecuted

Colorado District Attorney George Brauchler is displeased
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2020 12:15 PM CST

(Newser) – "He's a little intoxicated," said a lieutenant of a Colorado man found passed out behind the wheel. Except that man was a police officer—and Colorado District Attorney George Brauchler is pretty peeved that he can't prosecute him. That's because an investigation was never opened by the Aurora PD, and the evidence that is on hand can't be used due to a couple of laws, the Denver Post reports. "If one of us had been in that car, and not officer Nathan Meier, do I think it would it have been treated differently? I do." As for the treatment Meier received when he was found March 26 in an Aurora police car, armed, in uniform, and smelling a bit like alcohol, responding Deputy Chief Paul O'Keefe told internal affairs that he "erred on the side of protecting" Meier.

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O'Keefe said he felt there wasn't enough evidence to pursue a DUI investigation and instead treated it as a medical situation, reports CBS Denver. Brauchler noted a water bottle containing a colorless liquid was in Meier's car but wasn't tested. Further, no one attempted to get Meier's blood, per ABC News, though hospital staff did draw it and found his BAC was 0.43, five times over the legal limit—again, evidence that isn't admissible. Ditto Meier's own admission to internal affairs investigators that he was driving drunk. "I don’t think it's a cover-up," says Brauchler, "but it's a couple blocks from it." Meier is still with the department, but in a "non-enforcement capacity." O'Keefe resigned on Thursday. (Read more DUI stories.)

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