Costa had no way of knowing this, but the man in the car that had slammed into her was himself a police sergeant — after a boozy night on the town with his fellow Miami Beach officers. Or that when law officers searching for the runaway rider spotted him wandering along Andrews Avenue in Oakland Park — caked in mud, reeking of alcohol, keys to the Lexus in his pocket — they would chauffeur him home rather than test his blood alcohol or toss him in jail.
Later, when a state trooper would try to investigate the Miami Beach sergeant’s behavior, he was dismissed by some of the officer’s colleagues. Finally, when that trooper detailed these difficulties in a probable cause affidavit — saying Miami Beach officers had lied, ignored subpoenas and failed to return his calls — he would encounter the wrath of the Beach’s top cop, Carlos Noriega.
We often hear about how much disdain the police have for drunk drivers. This disdain though seems to be more of a push for laws and power than an actual dislike for the havoc caused by drunk drivers. If their disdain was genuine they would be the first in line to publically flog one of their own. One leads by example and this is an excellent example of “do as I say, not as I do.”
The article goes on to detail the lackadaisical investigation into the crash. How the sergeant’s fellow officers attempted to protect him. The icing on the cake though is the following:
Barrenechea was not charged with drunk driving, although he most definitely appeared intoxicated to Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Tally Brown. No one had seen him behind the wheel of his car, and when he was stopped as he ambled down Andrews Avenue, he would answer no questions. He’d admitted only his name and only after deputies presented him with an image of a driver’s license with his photo on it. He was briefly cuffed by Deputy Mitchell Lyden, then uncuffed.
Because of all the sloppy police work, he was shielded from being punished for the root cause of the accident. This is yet another example of the unequal treatment between civilian law enforcement and the general public.
State Sponsored Criminal Count: 113 Sgt. Barrenechea
Because drunk driving is only wrong if you’re a civilian, if you’re a cop you’re free and clear.