A Colorado district attorney says that he is "incredibly frustrated" because he is not able to prosecute a police officer who was found passed out drunk in his patrol car.
On March 29, 2019, officers with the Aurora Police Department discovered Nathan Meier slumped over in the driver's seat of his patrol car, which was parked in the middle of the street. He was armed and in uniform at the time. Deputy Chief Paul O'Keefe, who was the first officer on the scene, reported smelling the faint smell of alcohol. Another officer said that Meier appeared to be "a little intoxicated."
Despite their initial suspicions that Meier was drunk, they never mentioned that to the paramedics, who believed he may have suffered from a stroke. He was rushed to the hospital, where a DUI specialist was waiting. The specialist was turned away, and no investigation was launched.
A blood test conducted by the hospital found that his blood-alcohol level was five times the legal limit, but due to privacy laws, those results cannot be used as evidence to charge Meier.
"I am incredibly frustrated," District Attorney George Brauchler said. "Bottom line is if one of us had been in that car, and not officer Nathan Meier, do I think it would have been treated differently? I do."
Brauchler said that Meier should be facing charges for driving under the influence and being intoxicated while carrying a firearm. While he doesn't believe the department is covering up the incident, he blames them for not launching an investigation.
"I think this became an 'ignorance is bliss' moment," Brauchler said. "I don't think it's a cover-up, but it's a couple blocks from it."
The Aurora Police Department did not comment on the specifics of the case but said that Meier remains employed in a "non-enforcement capacity" and plans to retire in March.