When it comes to police discretion, there are several factors that can go into a cop choosing whether to arrest you or send you on your way. It could be as simple as what kind of mood they are in, or whether you are respectful. But, if you are the Police Commissioner’s son, it could be as simple as giving them your name.
Some are calling foul on a police officer’s actions that led the son of Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis to get a ride home from police rather than arrested. Was it privilege or simple discretion? Would the same treatment had been offered to you or I?
According to Boston.com, Philip Davis had taken his girlfriend out to dinner at TD Garden. As he left, a passerby alerted a nearby officer that Davis seemed intoxicated. The officer then executed a stop as Davis and his girlfriend exited the parking lot in his blue pickup.
During the stop, the officer learned of Davis’ identity. Interestingly, he determined he was “unsure” of Davis’ level of intoxication and offered to give him a ride. Davis and his girlfriend got into the patrol car and were taken to the district station where the officer’s supervisor agreed that it was a good idea to take them home. They were then transported home without further interaction.
According to reports, the officer’s justification for using his discretion wasn’t who the man was but the fact that he was unsure of the man’s level of intoxication. This is interesting, because it seems anytime there is a slight chance someone is intoxicated, even if there is uncertainty, the police officer will take steps to determine for sure if the driver is too intoxicated to drive.
Have you ever heard of a cop asking someone if they were intoxicated, saying “Hmm…I just don’t know. Want a ride?” No, because despite a Boston Police Department spokesperson’s claims, it is extremely rare.
If an officer pulls you over and even suspects you are drunk, he will take steps to validate his suspicions. This includes field sobriety testing and breath tests, not offering you a ride home.
The Department says Davis was given no special treatment. And while he might not have been stumbling drunk, he didn’t even leave the parking lot, and no one was injured, it’s a stretch to assume the same chauffer service would have been provided to a blue collar Joe.
If you are charged with drunk driving or any other criminal offense, you need to know someone is on your side, no matter what your last name is or who you are related to. Contact my offices today to discuss your case and how I might be able to help.