DENVER (AP/CBS4) – Denver police apologized to a Colorado lawmaker Tuesday, saying they gave the wrong story about her traffic stop when she was suspected of drunken driving.
Police Lt. Matt Murray said a police supervisor asked Rep. Laura Bradford whether she was a member of the Legislature, and that Bradford did not bring the topic up first, as city officials said earlier. Murray said the supervisor told Bradford she could face a DUI charge.
“At that point she said, ‘I want to be treated like everyone else,’” Murray said.
Murray said the police supervisor told the officer who pulled Bradford over not to reveal any details of the stop, but the officer came forward after the extensive media attention that followed because the officer wanted to set the record straight. Murray said an internal investigation has begun into the supervisor’s actions.
The supervisor was called to the scene after the officer saw Bradford’s license plates identifying her as a lawmaker. Neither the supervisor nor the officer has been identified.
After her Jan. 25 arrest, questions were raised about whether Bradford had invoked legislative immunity under a provision in the state constitution. She has denied invoking immunity.
Bradford is a Republican from Grand Junction.
Murray also said Bradford told the officers she had a gun in her car. Murray said it is against the law to have a gun while intoxicated, and it will be up to prosecutors to decide whether to charge Bradford with the violation, a misdemeanor.
Police said last week the officer who pulled Bradford over smelled alcohol on her breath but was unable to take her to the police station for a breathalyzer or blood test because of a constitutional provision aimed at protecting lawmakers’ ability to travel to and from the Capitol to cast votes.
Watch the entire news conference in the video below:
Bradford was cited with making an illegal lane change and improper turn.
Bradford parked her car and took a cab after the traffic stop. She apologized to lawmakers Monday and denied that she invoked the privilege.
“I am not above the law. I am bound to the same laws and standards as every other citizen,” she said from the podium of the House floor during a short speech.
Her case has prompted criticism from academics and some lawmakers who say Denver police let her off too easy. Denver police have responded that they were following constitutional guidelines.
The law allows exemptions for treason and felonies. Police said they would’ve arrested Bradford if she was suspected of drunken driving after an accident with injuries, a felony.
Bradford said she was driving her personal car with legislative plates, but denied that she tried to influence officers’ actions.
“In response to the officer’s inquiries, I stated that I was leaving a legislative function and needed to be at the Capitol the next day,” she said.
Leaders at the state Capitol have launched an ethics investigation.
“From our perspective this is still a very serious situation and one that we believe deserves investigation, and we will continue with that from the House side. An ethics committee has been impaneled and they will have their review,” Speaker of the House Frank McNulty told CBS4.
Lawmakers in Arizona are considering changes to their legislative immunity rule after a former state senator was accused last year of getting out domestic violence allegations by using the immunity clause.
- By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer
(CBS4 staff contributed to this report)
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