A Denver police officer who was fired in 2010 for driving both over the speed limit and under the influence has appealed his dismissal, arguing that the punishment was unfair and “overly harsh.” We don’t know about you, but we can’t roll our eyes enough at that.
Derrick Curtis Saunders was arrested for speeding and DUI after Colorado State Patrol busted him traveling 143 mph in a 55-mph zone. When he was pulled over, police found his blood alcohol content to be .089, over the state’s limit of .08.
The order of termination was issued by Manager of Safety Alex Martinez. Martinez wrote, “The extraordinary high speed alone is stunning. The fact that you drove at this dangerous speed while your ability to drive was impaired by alcohol is shocking. In addition, you were driving at night and with a passenger in the car.” Saunders’ legal punishment was five days in jail, a $300 fine, and 100 hours of community service, but Martinez added, “Your misconduct demonstrates a willful and wanton disregard of Department values and demonstrates a serious lack of character related to fitness to hold the position of police officer, a Category F violation.”
Category F: Fired?
However, Saunders’ appeal asserts that Martinez’s findings and penalties are “unfounded and/or unsupported by the facts” and violate principles of fundamental fairness, and the appeal states that the penalty is “disproportionate to the offenses alleged and/or is excessive so as to be punitive rather than corrective in nature.” What’s confusing is Saunders pleaded guilty to the charges of speeding DUI and was convicted. So…unfounded, then? How?
Interestingly, this isn’t Saunders first run-in with the, er…law? In 2009, Saunders was cleared of felony menacing and weapons charges after a McDonald’s employee accused him of pulling a gun when he became impatient while waiting for his food.
We have to wonder if he will actually get his job back. And maybe we don’t know everything we could about the case, but we have to draw the conclusion that pleading guilty to DUI and excessive speeding doesn’t exactly put him in the best position to uphold the law.
[Source: the Denver Post]