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DU Professor Calls Police Handling Of Lawmaker’s Traffic Stop Outrageous

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Rep. Laura Bradford (credit: state.co.us.gov)

Rep. Laura Bradford (credit: state.co.us.gov)

DENVER (CBS4) – A traffic stop is raising a lot of eyebrows in Denver. A state lawmaker was pulled over and police think she may have been drunk.

Police admit they let Laura Bradford go because of her position. It happened Wednesday night at the corner of East Colfax Avenue and Downing Street. Bradford was only issued a traffic citation.

A law in the state Constitution gives legislators special privilege in going to and from the House of Representatives, but some legal watchers and politicians in her own party say the Denver Police Department’s response was inappropriate.

“The Denver police let her go after she was drinking and driving,” University of Denver professor Thomas Russell said.

Russell calls DPD’s decision not to arrest Bradford outrageous.

“Drunk driving clearly falls outside the sphere of legitimate activity,” he said.

The Grand Junction Republican was coming home from dinner when she was pulled over. Denver police say there was a noticeable smell of alcohol in Bradford’s car. She was ticketed for making an illegal turn and careless driving. After contacting a superior, the Denver officer called Bradford a cab.

“I think that’s stretching the privilege more than it is,” said Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs.

Legislators say Denver’s policy goes well beyond guidelines written in the state Constitution. The guidelines are intended to keep lawmakers from missing votes and debates.

The speaker of the house stripped Bradford from her position as the chair of a committee.

Bradford never returned calls for comment. She released a statement saying she “looks forward to having the facts brought to light.”

“Next week members of the House of Representatives, and particularly our leadership, are going to be inquiring into what, if anything, ought to occur in terms of discipline,” Gardner said.

A hearing for Bradford will look into whether or not she committed any ethics violations.

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