By Michael Abeyta

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) — Following a report by CBS4’s Brian Maass, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler launched an investigation into allegations that Aurora Police Officer Nate Meier was found drunk — in his police cruiser, while on duty and carrying a firearm. He concluded that Meier probably did do what he is accused of, but that there is nothing he can do to hold him accountable because he doesn’t have the evidence.

“Bottom line is, if one of us was in that car and not officer Nate Meier, you ask me do I think it would have been treated differently, I do.” Brauchler said Thursday during a news conference.

READ MORE: 'There Was No Effort': Denver Police Officer Fired For Failing To Render Aid To Shooting Victim

Brauchler said he conducted a two-pronged investigation into the incident. One side looked at what police and fire department responders did when they found Meier passed out in his cruiser — and one that looked at the internal affairs investigation conducted by Aurora Police.

(credit: CBS)

Brauchler repeatedly referred to reports by Maass and said he wasn’t aware of the incident until his reports on CBS4.

Brauchler discovered that most of the evidence reported by Maass, including Meier’s confession and the blood alcohol test, was from the internal affairs investigation into the incident — and provided to investigators by Meier himself. That made it inadmissible in court because of a previous court decision in Garrity vs. New Jersey.

“When an officer is being investigated for misconduct and their employer, that chief of police says to them, ‘If you don’t answer questions about what you did and why you did it, I will terminate your employment,’ that statement is considered compelled and that means we don’t get it at trial,” Brauchler explained.

(credit: CBS)

RELATED: DA George Brauchler Can’t File DUI Charges Against Nathan Meier, Claims Officer ‘Beat The System’

The D.A. said he felt he couldn’t build a strong case without the information from the internal investigation and thus cannot ethically charge Meier with anything.

READ MORE: Tracking COVID-19: CBS4 Goes Inside Summit Biolabs

“If we had that blood alcohol level we would have charged him,” said Brauchler. Brauchler said he could not have obtained that information, even with a warrant.

Brauchler said his BAC would have calculated out to .430.

(credit: CBS)

“That is significantly intoxicated. There is no question that a person with that blood alcohol level – were we to have it to use – would have been guilty of possessing a firearm while drunk,” Brauchler stated.

Additionally, Brauchler said when APD officers found Meier, they did not share their suspicions that he might be drunk with anyone. Therefore, useful evidence wasn’t collected. He also said an Aurora Police DUI investigator was assigned to the case at the time — but was called off by his higher-ups.

(credit: CBS)

“I think this became an ‘ignorance is bliss’ moment,” said Braucheler. “I don’t think that’s a cover-up, but it’s a couple blocks from it.”

Brauchler denounced the notion that he himself is protecting police officers by not filing charges.

“I’m extremely frustrated with how this was handled and the outcome and the position I’m put in to have to stand here before the public to try to dispel this kind of suggestion that somehow I’m in bed with this conduct. I am not!” he insisted.

MORE NEWS: COVID In Colorado: Interest In Booster Shots Increases

Brauchler said he has not ruled out the possibility of filing misdemeanor misconduct charges against Meier, or any of the other officers involved, if new evidence should come to his attention.

Michael Abeyta