Aurora, CA — In March, Aurora police officer Nate Meier was found presumably drunk and unresponsive behind the wheel of his police cruiser. Since the release of the body camera footage recently, the command staff at the Aurora Police Department (APD) have come under fire for not only not charging Meier with a DUI but allowing him to keep his job with APD. Now, APD Chief Nick Metz is pointing the finger of the blame at the media, instead of his failed leadership, and insists his officer didn’t cross the line into criminality.
When you watch the video below, you will likely disagree with the chief. As the video shows, officer Meier was on duty and driving on a public roadway when he became so drunk that he passed out with the vehicle in gear. He was so drunk that responding officers had to break the window to his cruiser and drag him out.
Chief Metz issued a statement to the press this week claiming the press had rushed to judgement. Metz called it an “inaccurate media spin” and rejected any notions there was a cover-up at work. Going further Metz added, “I don’t want this to become a distraction from a message I want all of you to hear loud and clear, which is this: If you make a mistake, OWN YOUR S**T”. It’s unclear if the chief is insinuating the media got the story wrong or if Officer Meier is accepting responsibility for his actions.
Chief Metz may be so far removed from reality of the world in which the rest of the commoners live, possibly made blind by his shiny badge or delirious with pride in his crisp uniform, but we all know you don’t smell of alcohol behind the wheel of a running vehicle, unresponsive, with the vehicle in drive, and avoid getting a DUI. No one but cops get away with such actions.
Once again, Metz has proved common knowledge to be true. Unless you have a badge, you cannot drive drunk and keep your job, any job which involves a moving vehicle.
Some might say Metz continued to dig the hole in which he will likely fall even deeper by continuing to stand behind his fellow boy in blue. He stated when one of his officers, “makes a mistake worthy of adverse action”, he chooses to consider, “whether that individual owns their mistake, takes responsibility, and takes steps to right the wrong.”
In the eyes of many police accountability experts, righting the wrong in Meier’s case would have been to resign and avoid bringing any shame onto his police department. That didn’t happen. Meier did, however, reportedly “receive a significant unpaid suspension” the details of which still have not been disclosed.
But somehow, someway, an unpaid suspension, in Chief Metz’ mind appears to make up for the fact the officer could have killed someone while drunk and behind the wheel of his cop car. In the end, Metz claims to be able to “find a balance between discipline and support.”
Metz also claims termination of an officer’s employment is appropriate “when the evidence overwhelmingly suggests this is the right course of action.” Metz neglected to mention none of the officers on scene attempted to collect any evidence against one of their own, and if they did collect evidence it has not yet been made available to the public.
In other words, accusations of a cover-up appear to be grounded in several key facts. Meier was found unresponsive smelling of alcohol. He was not administered a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test. Toxicity reports, if any tests were administered were not made available to the public. Meier was not charged with any crime. His employment was not terminated. This is all in spite of the officer admitting to drinking vodka as well.
As the Denver Post reports:
The internal affairs report said Meier showed up to work that day at 10:17 a.m. — more than two hours late for his 8 a.m. shift — and left police headquarters at 2:03 p.m. The report said “no one knew (his) whereabouts” prior to the incident.
In a later interview with internal affairs, Meier admitted that he went home during his shift and drank vodka. He told internal affairs investigators he was impaired by the vodka and did not remember anything after drinking until he woke up in the hospital, according to the summary. He also provided investigators with medical records that “indicated his level of alcohol consumption,” according to a statement from Aurora police.
The Deputy Chief as well as the current Chief of Police at Aurora Police Department both have made statements in support of their actions not to charge the officer and have pointed the finger of blame at the media, the only ones brave enough to hold Meier and the APD accountable for their actions. Smells like a cover-up to us.