A Hawaii driver who was falsely arrested for drunk driving in November says a police officer informed him to disclaim additional examination at a Pearl Metropolis police station. The officer gave Ammon Fepuleai that recommendation below the pretense of saving him time whereas being booked for the arrest, which proved to be false and ended with prosecutors dropping the case for lack of proof, in keeping with Hawaii Information Now.
The U.S. is recording alarmingly excessive instances of false DUI arrests; for the previous couple of years, police departments nationwide have performed extra “emphasis patrols” with a purpose to curb drunk driving. However these DUI checkpoints are sometimes federally-funded, and the time beyond regulation hours they supply are paid for by state and federal businesses, somewhat than the police departments finishing up the patrols.
Some investigations now declare that police are inspired to extend their arrest stats, which has led to a prevalence of wrongful arrests with lasting penalties for drivers, because the Coloradoan stories.
Fepuleai’s arrest is one in every of such instances. Regardless of having the fees dropped, the Hawaii driver had his license revoked and needed to publish a $500 bond to go free. Fepuleai sought authorized counsel after the wrongful arrest, which left him feeling embarrassed and profiled.
However, largely, the Hawaii driver felt baffled by the incident, telling HNN reporters he doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do medicine, and doesn’t even drink, per the video report:
HNN investigated the case, compiling data from Fepuleai’s arrest paperwork in addition to video and audio footage from the officer’s physique cam, which the patrolman turned off at one level — a violation of the Honolulu Police Division’s arrest procedures.
What’s most placing in regards to the incident is how rote the DUI cease goes, and the way blithely police dismissed proof they collected, which advised Fepuleai was, certainly, not drunk. It’s virtually as if the police knew he was telling the reality, however arrested and processed him anyway simply to boost their arrest stats. Per HNN:
Proper after Fepuleai was cuffed and put within the patrol automotive, the transporting officer seems to show off the physique digicam, regardless that coverage requires it keep on throughout the experience.
Fepuleai mentioned that’s essential as a result of on the best way to the Pearl Metropolis substation, he mentioned the officer informed him to refuse additional checks in an effort to avoid wasting time.
Fepuleai mentioned he listened and posted $500 bail.
He now regrets listening to the officer. “He shouldn’t have given me that recommendation and I hope that they’re not giving different harmless folks the identical recommendation,” Fepuleai mentioned.
Jonathan Burge, an legal professional who focuses on visitors instances, mentioned he has heard from a number of different shoppers that officers are giving that recommendation.
Burge mentioned some officers wish to get again out to make extra arrests.
“If you do the roadblocks, you’re anticipated to get a DUI arrest as a result of they’re paying time beyond regulation,” Burge mentioned, including “there’s strain for stats.”
DUI checkpoints are sometimes federally-funded.
And related police habits has been recorded in different places, reminiscent of Fort Collins, Colorado. An investigation carried out by the Coloradoan discovered that an officer tasked with catching drunk drivers almost doubled his arrests year-over-year from 50 DUI arrests in 202o, to 90 in 2021, then 190 in 2022.
After a sequence of lawsuits for wrongful arrests, the officer resigned earlier than the division might hearth him for improper conduct — which is inspired each implicitly and explicitly by the funding tied to those DUI patrols.