A screen capture from a viral Twitter video blurred to protect the subject's identity and an image from Jefferson County Sheriff's Office body-worn camera footage of a DUI stop.Twitter/Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
Law enforcement agencies are often less than enthusiastic about releasing body-worn camera footage. But the eagerness with which the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office shared images from an April 2 DUI stop is an exception to that rule.
The JCSO proactively distributed the clip in an effort to debunk a viral video shared on Twitter in which an eighteen-year-old claimed to have talked a Jeffco deputy out of busting her for driving under the influence despite supposedly notching a 3.8 blood-alcohol-content reading on a breathalyzer — almost five times the legal limit for intoxication in Colorado. But according to the JCSO, the deputy didn't perform any sobriety checks on the woman because she gave no indications of drunkenness, and that assertion is backed by the video.
Westword is not naming the woman because she faces no criminal charges; the image on view above has also been blurred to protect her identity. But in the video she posted, she swigs from a bottle of booze while celebrating her supposed victory. "I blew a 3.8 and he let me off with a fucking warning," she exults. "And gave me his number and said we should meet for coffee or lunch. He was hot. So I'm getting lunch with him tomorrow."
Other random exclamations include "No DUI for me, bitches!" But as the JCSO points out, the body-worn-camera footage "disputes her claims."
The Jeffco sheriff's office video stars an officer identified only as "Deputy Stahl." Although the clip is said to show the entire interaction with the teen, the driver's license, vehicle license plate and the deputy's computer screen have been redacted, and there's no audio from 1:27 to 5:37 on the time stamp, during the period when the officer reportedly was not speaking with the woman.
According to the JCSO, the deputy pulled over the teen at 4:41 a.m. on April 2 near the intersection of West Bowles Avenue and South Holland Way because her vehicle was weaving. But she answered "No" when asked if she'd been drinking, and Deputy Stahl reported that he didn't smell any alcohol on her breath or "witness any other physical signs of intoxication." As a result, he didn't conduct a breathalyzer test, and after clearing her name for warrants and verifying her ride's license plate, he gave her a warning.
In addition, Stahl gave the woman a business card with his name and badge number, sans his phone number, "in compliance with Colorado law," the JCSO stresses.
Here's the video.
The release from the Jeffco Sheriff's Office concludes with this: "We appreciate the public’s interest in ensuring our deputy acted appropriately and we assure you, he did."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.