Minnesota police officers were caught on camera releasing a fellow officer after he was found intoxicated behind the wheel of a running vehicle in November 2015 (video below).
Officers discovered 28-year-old William Monberg passed out in a parked but running car on Nov. 7, 2015, with “open containers of silver Coors Light cans in the passenger seat,” according to police reports obtained by KARE.
The officers did not know Monberg was a fellow officer upon finding him.
“Can you open it? OK, open the door,” Blaine police officer Brad Nordby says to Monberg.
“Oh, great. His penis is out of his pants,” Nordby says to his partner.
After asking Monberg to zip up, Nordby asks the driver to open his door. Officers had to ask Monberg nine times before he complied.
The officers eventually get Monberg out of the vehicle and perform tests to determine whether he can drive.
“I don’t understand what you want me to do,” Monberg says to the officers after they ask him to remove his hat.
After failing the tests, Monberg is arrested for DWI. He is placed in the back of a patrol car.
The officers then discover Monberg's police badge inside his wallet.
"Oh, crap!" one of the officers says.
The officers then allegedly turn off their body microphones.
Another video shows one of the officers letting Monberg out of the patrol car.
When he returns, he is no longer handcuffed. The officers then arrange a ride for him back home instead of off to jail.
“In this case, inexperienced officers made a mistake,” Blaine police chief Chris Olson told KARE. "It’s not acceptable."
Olson had the incident investigated and officially charged Monberg with DWI in December 2015.
“My expectation is fair and impartial policing, and that didn’t happen” Olson said. "We need to treat people fairly, and it shouldn’t matter what they do for a living."
The Columbia Heights Police Department reportedly suspended Monberg for 30 days.
“I am profoundly ashamed, embarrassed, and disappointed in myself for the incident that occurred on November 7, 2015,” Monberg said in a statement to KARE. “I extend my most genuine apologies to my agency and community, the Blaine Police Department, and the officers who were placed in an incredibly difficult position because of my actions.”
However, some argue this case is just part of a larger trend of the unwritten rule known as “professional courtesy” -- the notion that cops shouldn’t ticket their fellow colleagues.
“A lot of police officers feel that pressure to take care of their brethren,” retired police officer Duane Wolfe said.
Wolfe, now a law enforcement instructor, added that special treatment “doesn’t serve the profession, doesn’t serve the department and quite honestly it doesn’t serve the officer.”
“They just get the attitude that there are no consequences for [their] actions,” he said.