AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz has told his department that a woman who talked her way out of a serious DUI case in 2017 had used his name and was “fabricating a relationship.. in an effort to gain favor.” That is according to an email authored by the chief and sent out to his department Monday night.
The email was sent out shortly after a CBS4 Investigation revealed one of his officers, Ryan Marker, stopped the woman for DUI in January 2017, but then turned off his body camera and gave the inebriated woman a ride home after she claimed to be a friend of Chief Metz.
“The woman who was stopped by Officer Marker was nothing more than an acquaintance from a neighborhood community group who attempted to take advantage of the situation, and the officer, by throwing out my name and fabricating a relationship,” wrote Metz. “She was not a personal friend, girlfriend/wife, an APD employee, an APD family member or an employee of the city.”
The CBS4 Investigation reported that Marker stopped the woman after he saw her weaving. When he approached her car he said she was texting Metz. But after she claimed a connection with Metz, Marker took her home, never wrote a report and intentionally turned off his body camera even though she had blown a .19 BAC on a portable breath test, more than twice the legal limit for DUI.
An internal affairs report noted that Marker “…made the decision to turn off his body worn camera until he could confirm or refute her claim.. He decided to drive her home and release her to her husband.” The officer said he tried but was unable to reach Chief Metz immediately after the DUI stop but spoke to him the following day. According to the internal affairs report, Metz told Marker the next day “that if he had pulled over his girlfriend, children, wife, mother etc., he, (Metz) expected him to arrest them for DUI and not give them special treatment.”
In his Monday email to the department, Metz wrote, ”Unfortunately, this was not the first time (and I’m sure it won’t be the last) that someone has tried to tell officers that they are a close friend or family member of mine in an effort to gain favor. Whether a person has a real or fabricated relationship with me or any other member of the agency, whether that person possesses some kind of political or celebrity status, or whether that person is an employee of APD or other law enforcement agency, it is my expectation that you address the issue in the same way you would handle someone from the general public. If you’re not sure what to do, ask your supervisor. Despite being in a difficult position, please know I will never chastise your actions for doing the right things for the right reasons… no matter who is involved.”
Previously, Metz had only said he had recused himself from the investigation and that he was not responsible for the disciplinary decision made in the internal affairs case. That investigation concluded Officer Marker had violated a single department regulation about using body worn cameras, even though the investigation concluded Marker had probable cause to arrest the woman. The internal affairs investigation suggests Marker did not receive any actual punitive discipline aside from a warning.
Marker has not responded to a text message or email from CBS4 regarding the apparent case of preferential treatment.
“I feel the frustration,” wrote Metz in his message to his troops. ”I want you all to know that I support you and the work you do. We’ve been in touch with Officer Marker to provide whatever support he might need and to discuss this message with him. I support Officer Marker and I appreciate his professionalism throughout the aftermath of this incident.”