A Colorado district attorney who was unable to prosecute a cop who had passed out drunk in his patrol car last year has expressed his frustration at the double standards shown by the police department to protect one of its own.

On March 29, 2019, officer Nathan Meier was found unresponsive in his patrol car, in the middle of a street in Aurora. He was in his uniform and had his weapon on him when he was found by other officials on the scene. Deputy Chief Paul O'Keefe, who was one of the officials who responded first to the scene, reported Meier had a faint smell of alcohol on him ABC News reported.

However, according to District Attorney George Brauchler, O’Keefe later told Internal Affairs that he did not have enough evidence for a DUI investigation.

Of the eight police officers who were present when Meier was discovered, no one told the firefighters or EMS personnel that Meier had a faint smell of alcohol coming from him. As a result, he was taken to the hospital believing he was suffering from opioid exposure or experiencing a stroke.

The medical staff at the hospital found that the alcohol level in Meier’s blood was five times over the legal limit, however, the report could not be used to prosecute him for a DUI because of medical privacy, Brauchler told ABC News.

Furthermore, a DUI specialist dispatched to the hospital was asked to stand down.

“I am incredibly frustrated,” Brauchler told ABC News. “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 if the Aurora police had handled the investigation properly instead of trying to protect one of their own, Meier would have faced several charges including driving under the influence of alcohol and being intoxicated while carrying a firearm.

“I think this became an 'ignorance is bliss' moment,” Brauchler told ABC News. “I don’t think it’s a cover-up, but it’s a couple of blocks from it.”

The Aurora Police Department declined to make a formal comment on the incident but said that Meier remains in the department in a “non-enforcement capacity”.

Patrol Car
Dashcam footage shows Texas officer getting run over twice. In this photo, patrol cars block Lamar street as Police Headquarters was put in lockdown due to a threat in Dallas, Texas, July 9, 2016. Getty Images/ LAURA BUCKMAN