In late 2015, two officers of the Blaine, Minnesota, police department responded to an alarm call from the local Fleet Farm. When they arrived, the officers discovered a running car in the parking lot with an apparently unconscious man behind the wheel. The responding officers discovered the interior of the car was littered with Coors Light cans. The occupant was completely unresponsive with his penis out of his pants. What should have been a textbook DWI arrest, however, sparked an investigation exposing officer malfeasance and an unwillingness to hold fellow officers responsible for their criminal actions.
Dashcam footage from the responding officer’s patrol car was obtained by KARE News 11 after a public records request. The footage shows the Blaine PD officers taking all the proper steps in dealing with a potential DWI. The driver, William Monberg, was so inebriated that it took one officer several attempts to wake him up enough to get out of the car. After banging on the roof and windows for several minutes, Monberg came to. During the field sobriety tests he was so inebriated he couldn’t understand a simple commands, such as when an officer asked him to remove his hat. Monberg then blew a .202 on the officers’ breathalyzer. He was arrested, cuffed, and placed in the back of the squad car.
Once Monberg was in the squad car, however, the responding officers went through Monberg’s wallet and discovered that he was a Columbia Heights police officer. The video then shows the officers turning off their body microphones and stepping out of view of the cruiser’s forward-facing camera. Unfortunately for them, the cruiser’s interior camera, which monitors the back seat, captured them returning to the car, uncuffing Monberg, and arranging a ride home for him instead of a ride to jail.
The responding officers covered up the entire affair. They filed no official reports and entered nothing into the department’s Computer Aided Dispatch system. They almost got away with it too, until Blaine PD chief Chris Olson opened an investigation into the incident nearly a month later. Thanks to the investigation, Officer Monberg was finally officially charged with DWI. Chief Olson would not provide a statement to KARE, citing the impending DWI case. He did, however, tell reporters that the young officers would be held accountable.
“In this case inexperienced officers made a mistake. It is not acceptable. My expectation is fair and impartial policing and that didn’t happen. We need to treat people fairly, and it doesn’t matter what they do for a living.”