Just when it couldn't get any weirder, the Denver Police Department apologized today for its handling of an incident that transpired late January between Colorado State Rep. Laura Bradford (R-Colbran) and one of its officers.
A little backstory: After being pulled over on January 25th by Denver Police at 10 p.m. for erratic driving, KRDO reports the officer -- despite acknowledging Rep. Bradford smelled of alcohol and admitted to drinking -- released her with a minor traffic citation (an illegal left turn), and allowed her to ride home in a taxi.
When news of the incident broke, media rushed to point out a little known clause Rep. Bradford seemed to have invoked leading to legislative immunity. According to Article V, Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution, any Colorado legislator traveling to or from the Capitol cannot be arrested, except for a felony or in instances of treason.
In today's apology, however, Denver Police Lieutenant Matt Murray said Rep. Bradford told police she wanted to be "treated like everyone else" on at least two occasions. After a supervisor arrived at the scene, the officer "asked if she was a representative. [The supervisor] was also the person who asked if she was coming from or going to a legislative session. The Denver Police Department brought that up, not the representative," said Murray.
Murray clarified the Denver Police Department was not apologizing for its handling of the situation, only for "mischaracterizing" Bradford's statements. "We followed procedure exactly," said Murray. "We're apologizing because we have misconstrued what she was saying."
He added that Bradford had a firearm in her car at the time of the incident, though he would not disclose where. Any person in possession of a firearm while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a controlled substance is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.
In the future, Denver Police Department officers "would respond exactly the same way," said Murray. "We still be believe, given the same set of facts, we would respond in exactly the same way. It's in our police manual ... it's in the Constitution. We are clearly instructed by the law not to arrest or detain a legislator when it's in session. There's ambiguity (in the law). It's vague."