Blaine, MN — Blaine Police officers, responding to reports of an alarm at the Lexington Avenue Fleet Farm in November, discovered something startling — a man passed out behind the wheel of a car with its engine running. But that wasn’t all.
Two officers spent a few minutes pounding the roof of the car and banging the windows in an attempt to rouse the driver. According to reports, they observed “open containers of silver Coors Light cans in the passenger seat.”
Dash cam footage obtained by local KARE 11 shows the Blaine officers beating the car while repeatedly yelling for its occupant to “Wake up!” When they finally manage to capture the driver’s attention, he appears incapable of understanding or following basic commands.
“Can you open it?” Officer Brad Nordby asks — nine times, according to the footage — “Ok, open the door.”
Then he realizes something more is amiss.
“Oh, great,” he says to his partner. “His penis is out of his pants.”
After first revving the engine, the driver eventually exits the vehicle; but he remains incoherent and unable to understand what the officers are saying.
They then proceed to administer basic sobriety tests — which the man stumbles through but simply cannot complete. Eventually, one of them tells the clearly impaired driver, “Why don’t you just go sit on my bumper, ok? You’re going to fall [over] on me.”
Video shows the driver with his arms extended, as one of the cops asks “Can you take off your hat for a second?” But he has to repeat the question a number of times. Finally, the driver, later identified as William Monberg, explains, “I don’t understand what you want me to do.”
Dash video records Monberg blowing into a breathalyzer, and according to police reports, he registered .202 — more than two and a half times above the legal limit.
“William, right now I’m going to place you under arrest for DWI,” says the officer. “Ok, so put your hands behind your back for me.” He is then placed in the back of the patrol car.
It would seem to be an open-and-shut case. Not quite.
Upon examining the contents of Monberg’s wallet, one officer says, “Oh, crap.”
Looking at one another, without saying a word, both officers pull their body mics out of their pockets — and shut them off. Then they step away from the camera.
The mic and camera in the patrol car is still recording as the pair allow the inebriated Monberg out of the back of the vehicle.
When he’s placed back in patrol car, he is no longer in handcuffs.
“I just need to figure out a way to get him home,” one of the cops can be heard saying.
As it turns out, William Monberg is an investigator for the Columbia Heights Police Department. And Norby and his partner, Officer Brandon Fettig, are performing what is known as “professional courtesy” — the unspoken rule among police that they will not arrest one of their own.
KARE 11 reported, Monberg “was not taken into custody. No mugshots were taken. His car was not towed. Instead, the Blaine officers helped him arrange a ride home.” In fact, “no official police reports were filed at the time.”
Talk about Blue Privilege.
Monberg almost got away scot-free — with the help of fellow officers. Until Blaine Police Chief Chris Olson had an investigator find out what had happened that night.
Monberg ended up officially charged with DWI in December, though he has pled not guilty. His court date is scheduled for March 2.
As for Norby and Rettig, Olson told KARE 11, “In this case, inexperienced officers made a mistake. It’s not acceptable” — though neither has faced disciplinary action.
Officer Monberg issued a statement to KARE 11 in which he said he is “profoundly ashamed, embarrassed, and disappointed” in himself over the incident.
This was not a case of officers excusing another from a parking ticket — though that wouldn’t be acceptable, either. Monberg was seriously incapacitated on the night of November 7, 2015, and could have gravely injured or killed someone had he attempted to drive in that state. The lack of discipline for the officers involved in this attempted cover-up leaves little doubt similar “professional courtesy” will happen again.