AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Aurora Police Department on Monday released officers body cam videos from March 29 when officer Nathan Meier was found drunk on duty. It was in the middle of the afternoon, Meier was passed out and behind the wheel of an unmarked APD vehicle.
One officer can be heard saying to another, “He’s a little intoxicated.”
Multiple officers on scene said they smelled alcohol on Meier. They were summoned by motorists who noticed the incapacitated officer.
But Meier, who later admitted he had been drinking vodka at home while on duty and was impaired, was never tested for DUI or charged with a crime. The department did not terminate Meier, but instead, the department characterized what happened near Buckley Air Force Base as a likely “medical episode” and the officer was transported to a hospital.
He was later demoted, but remains with the Aurora Police Department. Meier declined requests from CBS4 to discuss what happened.
Some in law enforcement and members of the public have accused higher-ups with the department of providing preferential treatment to one of their own.
Deputy Chief Paul O’Keefe wrote in a report submitted April 1 stating when he was on scene he noticed a “fleeting” smell of what he thought was alcohol in Meier’s car. He said he did not notice any other evidence of drinking in the car.
”My observations of Sgt. Meier led me to question if this was in fact alcohol intoxication or some other medical episode, as his physical demeanor was not what I thought was consistent with alcohol intoxication; it appeared more medical in nature.” At the hospital, O’Keefe said, “..based on the lack of information, my own observations, and the lack of additional evidence… it was decided that no testing would be completed at this time.”
The newly released video shows Meier passed out in his vehicle and not responding to questions from first responders, who had to break a window to gain access to the car.
Multiple Aurora police sources familiar with the case told CBS4 that hospital testing showed Meier’s blood alcohol was at least five times the legal limit for DUI.
Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz declined an interview request from CBS4, but in a message to department members, he said he “unequivocally” stands by his decision to allow Meier to remain with the department.
“I care about the human being who stepped up and owned his incredibly poor decision.. and continues to courageously own it,” wrote Metz.
An internal affairs investigation found Meier violated four department policies, including one governing alcohol consumption.
Since learning of the case through CBS4 reporting, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler says his staff is reexamining the evidence in the case.