Drunken Cop Let Off Too Easy, Says Independent Monitor

Denver Cop BAC Was 0.246, Demanded Special Treatment, Berated Other Officers, Report Says

A Denver police officer who crashed his car while drunk, screaming obscenities and demanding special treatment from arresting officers, was let off too easy, according to a report from the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor.

Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal believes the officer's 26-day suspension was too weak.

"The officer in this case received inadequate discipline for his conduct towards arresting officers," said Rosenthal in a report his office released Thursday. (Read Independent Monitor's Report.)

"I have never been f***** by another policeman. I cannot believe this is the way you guys f****** run your department," officer Jesse Sandoval reportedly said during his arrest. Sandoval's name was not included in the report, however, 7NEWS obtained a copy of his Order of Disciplinary Action.

Sandoval's quotes were included in the Independent Monitor's report and were "caught on audio tape by the arresting officers."

"I'll tell you what, we take care of police. When I used to work in Chicago, we took care of each other. You suck," read another of Sandoval's quotes.

According to the Independent Monitor's report, the officer ran off a mountain road and down an embankment. He had a loaded firearm in the passenger compartment and had a blood alcohol content of 0.246 percent, three times the legal limit.

The report did not say when or where this happened.

"You know what? I didn't do anything any one of you motherf****** haven't done in your lifetime," Sandoval reportedly said to the arresting police officer.

Rosenthal explained in the report that he believes the discipline for the DUI and unlawful weapon possession are reasonable, but said the punishment for berating the arresting officers and trying to obtain preferential treatment was "insufficient."

According to Rosenthal's report, the officer received a 26-day suspension broken down as 16 days for the DUI and 10 days for unlawful possession of a firearm. However, "The [Manager of Safety] did not treat the officer's demand for special treatment and demeaning language as a separate allegation apart from the DUI," read the report.

For comparison, Rosenthal cited two other DUI cases involving Denver police officers. In one case, the officer was suspended for 46 days for DUI and demanding special treatment and, in the other case, the officer only identified himself as working for Denver police but did not demand special treatment. He was suspended for 14 days.

Neither officer in the previous cases had a BAC as high as Sandoval.

Report Says Cops Get Preferential Treatment For Off-Duty DUIs

Rosenthal pointed out that more uniform discipline will likely come in the future following a new department rule specifically prohibiting any request by a Denver police officer for preferential treatment.

The report also conveyed concerns by the Independent Monitor's office that Denver police officers are routinely receiving preferential treatment for off-duty DUI violations while in Denver.

The report cites data showing five officers have been arrested in Denver for DUI since 2005, and all five were involved in traffic accidents.

By comparison, 10 Denver police officers have been arrested for DUI in other jurisdictions in the same time frame.

"Based on the above information, the Monitor has concluded that some DPD officers expect to be treated differently than ordinary citizens during DUI-related traffic stops based on their status as police officers," read the report.

It is also important to note, the number of DUI arrests of Denver officers outside of the city limits represents a tiny fraction of the overall department.

The report covered complaints, discipline and other actions involving the Denver police and sheriff's department for the second quarter of 2011.

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