Police officer fired for driving 143 mph while drunk gets his job back

In June 2010 Denver police officer Derrick Saunders was sentenced to 5 days in jail for driving 143 mph while drunk. The manager of safety fired Saunders, but yesterday the Civil Service Commission overturned the decision to fire him, based on "discretion and precedence."

This is not good news for slow-moving McDonald's employees:

NewImageSaunders previously had been cleared of pointing a gun at a McDonald's employee in Aurora in 2009. The employee said Saunders, an officer assigned to Denver International Airport, grew impatient when his order wasn’t filled fast enough. He was in the drive-thru with another off-duty officer when he pulled the gun on them on May 2009, according to the McDonald's workers.

Saunders denied pointing the gun and a jury cleared Saunders of felony menacing and weapons charges in April 2010.

Cop Fired For Speeding 143 MPH While Drunk Gets Job Back (Via The Agitator)


    1. About what? All cops are dirty now. They’ve gotten rid of all the good cops in the departments.

      1. And if there are a couple “good cops” they know to keep their yaps shut when it comes to their “fellow officers”.
        This is called the “blue line of silence” and crossing it endangers not only the “honest officer” but also his or her family.

        Of course, when mere citizens cover for thugs its called “unlawful gang activity” or “accessory to a felony after the fact” or some similar, and generally quite serious, crime.

        But Police are always above the law in a Police State…

        1. Thats why i dont bother calling the police.  I have a much higher IQ, better training, a quality well maintained firearm and a bulletproof vest.   Besides, whens the last time a cop did a single thing to protect or serve you? Whens the last time they found your stolen car or television? They dont, they have 1000’s of “ticket cops” and a handful of detectives. They make money messing with the average citizens who will pay their ransoms, they dont make any money catching bad guys.

          I truly have little fear but If I had to list the order of worst fear to least it would go something like this.
          1. Police
          2. Street thugs
          3. Jehovahs Witnesses at my door
          4. My fiance on a bad week
          5. A deadly fart in an enclosed space
          6. Terrorists

          A Thug can take your belongings, maybe even your life.
          A Cop Thug can take your belongings, your life, shoot your dog and flash bang your daughter to death, and on top of all that give your family a bad name. If they dont just trump up some charge to put you in a living hell for the rest of your life.
          A Jehovahs witness can waste your saturday afternoon. My fiance can throw things fast and yell with the best of them. Terrorists already have taken away our rights and freedoms, they also got you and grandma fondled and anally invaded at the airport….Not much left for them to do to us, that our own government hasnt already done in their name.

          PS. Here a cop was found going 130+ no lights, drunk. He also smashed into to young girls 16 and 14 killing them both. He still works and was found “Guilty of no wrongdoing”

          “Fuck the Police isnt just for anarchists or thugs anymore!”-Me

    1. They need police to police the polices’ police.  Or they could just prosecute scumbag cops and put them under the jail.  That way they dont get rewarded and awards for doing whatever they please. 

      Capt. Obvious to the rescue!

      This guy doesnt obey the law.
      This guy shouldnt have a job enforcing the law.
      This guy shouldnt have a license.
      This guy shouldnt have his freedom.

      Any one of the above will ensure he is a continued detriment and strain on society.

  1. Par for the course around here. You’d pretty much have to go full SAW on someone to lose a job with the police in Denver or Aurora, and even then you might have a shot on review.

  2. Good cops (and there are plenty of good cops) should be furious with this kind of shit, because as long as good cops stand for this there are no good cops.

    1. It’s funny how those good cops are so darn helpless when it comes to cleaning out their forces…

        1.  I have lots of cops in my family. It has taken between 5 and 15 years for each of them to become paranoid hostile aggressive bullies who see everyone they interact with as a lowlife ‘perp’.

          1. Around here, rookies have to do a couple years as a prison guard before they are allowed out on the streets. That usually takes care of their humanity.

          2. Interesting that you speak to their personalities, but not to whether they are good cops or save people’s asses.

            I know some cops. I would never, ever want to be a cop. They never get to deal with people in good moments. All day, every day is bad moments. I think this is psychologically bad for cops, and tends to attract people to the job who are not very sympathetic or kind. However, I am not under the illusion that they are all bad or that they are not saving my ass even when I don’t know it.

          3. ChicagoD- If they actually did their jobs they wouldn’t be constantly dealing with hostile people

          4. @google-7ea63dcf721135f26f6a55c4928185d1:disqus  I’m not sure what you think their job is. In Chicago they spend a lot of time responding to calls. Rolling up on a situation for which other people called the police generally is not a moment when happy faces are appropriate.

        2.  Doing thier job does not make a cop ‘good’. It’s not committing or aiding in the commission of a crime that makes them ‘good’. That’s why there are no good cops. As part of a system and fraternity that protects other cops who commit crimes, they are all criminals.

        3. How does doing your job make you “good”?  Shouldn’t doing your job be neutral? Cops have a job. Saving your ass when you need it, is one of them. This is not something that makes a cop “good”. It’s what they are trained to do. It’s what they get paid to do.

          They have rules and regulations to follow. Following these rules and regulations does not make cops “good”. It just makes ’em cops doing their job. Not breaking the law while doing their job also does not make cops “good”. It just means they aren’t criminals.

          Acting like decent human beings to their fellow man while doing that job they are trained and paid to do also doesn’t make a cop “good”. It just means that cop is a human being, and not an asshole. It’s neutral.

          I’m tired of this idea that doing your job, or just being a decent human being, means you’re an awesome, fantastic person, rather than just … the way things should be.  That’s part of the problem.

          It’s like when fathers actually act like fathers instead of deadbeats, and they are praised and praised for being such “good dads”.  It’s a load of crap.

          1. Heh, a related argument that people like to make is “oh, you’re so critical of cops, but if you were ever robbed you’d still call 911” as though that’s somehow hypocritical.   

            Yeah, of course I’d expect them to help me — that’s their job.  The whole problem is that it’s dangerous and/or unjust when they DON’T do their job properly.

          2. Sure. OK. Police officers are utterly without discretion. Right? They can never do things that are objectively nice and beyond the scope of their required duties.

            What planet do you people live on? I have had cops do considerate, nice things for me a number of times. Not what they *had* to do, but what I would hope I would do for people were I in a position to do it. Should I forget that because some cops are absolutely reprehensible in their behavior? That seems wildly unfair to me.

          3. ChicagoD- Again, you can be assured that if those ‘nice’ cops saw an opportunity to throw you in jail in order to fill their quota, they’d sure do it.

          4. @google-7ea63dcf721135f26f6a55c4928185d1:disqus Well, I have evidence to the contrary, but since this cop in Denver was as asshole, and cops across the world are, that must not be true after all.

            Sheesh. At least I can “rest assured.” Jim said so.

          1. Ha ha! Collective punishment! Yay! Some cops are bad. Some cops fail to be bad (but can never apparently be “good.”) However, good deeds don’t cancel bad deeds, ergo, all cops are bad!

            The utter lack of logic and ability to imagine a scenario other than the one you have preconceived is tremendous. I like it.

            It’s a travesty that this cop couldn’t/wouldn’t be fired. Full stop. How you get from that to collective guilt is unfortunate.

          2. You’ve said the same thing several times now. Please respond to the proposition that “good” cops who don’t report “bad” cops should be viewed as bad because they are colluding with and supporting the bad ones to continue committing crimes without being subjected to the same laws as the rest of us.

          3. ChicagoD- He was cleared by other cops. No other cops seem to have a problem with this. Hope this helps!

          4. @Antinous_Moderator:disqus Cops who turn a blind eye to clear instance of misconduct as they are taking place are bad cops. I agree completely with that. However, I reject the notion that all cops are bad because I think that the overwhelming majority of cops neither do bad things, nor witness unambiguously bad things. I think that the overwhelming majority of cops do the best they can day to day in what is definitely a shitty job. Whether that makes them “good” is open to interpretation. I don’t think it makes them “bad.”

        4. The law shouldn’t work that way and doesn’t for normal people. Unfortunately, outside the circles you travel in,  habitually sheltering and providing alibis for criminals (in the form of other cops, in this case) makes someone “bad” regardless of the good he does. If we never sent anyone to jail who did a good deed, the jails would be empty,.

        5. No, spoken by someone who has needed a cop. Let’s hope that you never need one.

        6. With a nym like ChicagoD, you’ve probably got Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to cops.

        7. I know a number of cops.
          One bought for our dorm in at Western Michigan when he was in the Police Academy. Later he gave my some weed he took from a “suspect”.
          Another explained to me “The Blue Line of Silence” and how ratting out a criminal cop could get a whole family killed while the department looks the other way.

          As for having one’s “ass saved by a cop”, this is pretty rare.
          Most 911 calls by victims of violent crimes are not responded to rapidly enough to save anyone, just to clean up the mess and find someone to put in a corporate-cage over the matter.

          Generally what a cop is good for is getting a piece of paper documenting a loss, or perhaps assisting in some form of societal retribution against those accused of breaking the law by those with enough money that the cop actually gives a fuck.

        8. Ill start by saying Im defending the honest citizens being put in danger by this cop being on patrol, and you are standing behind a loser cop who speeds ferociously while drunk driving…

          I know plenty cops, nearly every single one is a total prick.  Most of my EX-friends who became an arm of the system turned into egotistical dicks I no longer associate with.  I know a judge, 5 lawyers(ex friends as well), plenty of cops, and Ive been through the system, so I think I know a thing or two about the system.

          Also, no I havent had “my ass saved by a cop”, I bet 99.9% of the population havent nor could they even relay a story from someone they directly know being saved by a cop.  IN FACT: there was a ruling that states police are not required to protect your life, its their supposed job, but not a job requirement.

            My grandfather lived and died never needing a cop once, fought in WWII and then in his later years was denied a gun purchase and the right to grow his own food in his yard. So the state sent out cops, fined him. Then mowed his crop down while he stood by protesting and holding back tears, and sent him a bill for $160 for the mow. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

          The system is flawed, corrupt, and ridiculous there is no denying that.  You cant rule honest men with law, only criminals, so they make so many laws that anyone can be considered a criminals.  Then those laws are bent or “misinterpreted” to abuse the good honest people.

          If there are good cops, they obviously arent NUMEROUS ENOUGH or GOOD ENOUGH to stop the rampant and blatant rights violations/criminal activity that goes on around them. 

          “Put a good apple in a pile of rotten ones and it will quickly spoil, it doesnt make the rotten ones whole again.”

          The police force breeds and hones well informed criminals just like prisons do.

        1. You nailed it, Corruption-coming to a SMALL TOWN near you.
          The cities already have it in abundance, hey they had to find jobs for all the psyched up military coming back home with nothing to kill.  Dont want those guys going homeless because they are dangerous, lets give em badges and sick them on citizens so they can abuse the shit out of people, while in their minds being relatively polite comparative to Iraq. 

          Not to mention anyone with sympathy for their fellow man trying to pass a police “Psych test”  One would think they would be designed to get intelligent caring people to deal with the population.  Instead they want heartless non-sympathetic people who are just stupid enough to follow orders and not question the many ignorances in law.  Me and my brother both failed the psych test, it was frustrating and confusing.  After being declared a genius and never failing a test in my life I had to research what was so wrong with me that I couldnt perform police duty.  Turns out its for having too much sympathy/empathy and too high an IQ.  Go figure.

          1. You failed because you’re not an Authoritarian, you might pollute their way of thinking, which is, of course, always correct.

  3. Sometimes you just need a quick bite to eat.  He was speeding to another McDonalds.  Nothing so see here.  Move along.

  4. So, the way for a criminal in Denver to get the cops off their back is easy: join the force.

  5. I’m pretty sure the only way a cop gets fired now a days is when the FBI or government agency gets involved.  

    1. Just remember, when they give you an intelligence test, don’t score too highly.

  6. At this point I really have to wonder if there’s any crime whatsoever that would get a cop fired. We’ve seen them get away with threatening and beating people, racist slurs, covering up their badges, outright murder, and now driving under the influence. What the fuck does it take, setting off an atom bomb?

      1. Exactly – there’s a case in NJ now (I think) where an officer pulled two of her  associates away from an extended beating of a man who is disabled I think. 

        Guess which of the three officers is under investigation and stands to be blackballed/fired ?

    1. Actually, one good thing about the NYPD is that they actually do fire people, even when after they get the obligatory free pass in court.  The east village rape cops (Moreno and Mata) got fired, as did some of the Sean Bell cops IIRC.

      The real confounding thing is how easy it is for them to get off in court.  Like in this case, a jury thought the McDonald’s employees made up the story of him pointing a gun?  How plausible is that?

  7. I’ve often thought that review boards and IAB should be moved outside the police force. Keeping it in house encourages solidarity rather than accountability, and everyone hates IAB – both those investigated by it and those on it.

    Most other parts of our government have systems of checks and balances, especially where enforcement and judicial review are concerned. Why isn’t this the case with police departments?

    1. Police departments are subject to judicial review. In some places there have been big enough lawsuits that management of the local police has been taken away from the local government (usually via consent decree). The thing is, the courts are always a blunt, slow, expensive instrument, and they are in these situations as well.

        1. That doesn’t solve the problem. I see no evidence that anyone not able to put people in jail will be able to penetrate the blue wall. 

          The biggest change that I think has taken place is the use of technology to capture proof of police misconduct. I suspect that cell phones and youtube have done more to reign in police than any court of internal review board ever will. Which is an argument for ensuring that absurd laws against recording the police in public are not enacted, or are repealed.

          1. Hint: cops will just arrest anyone they see filming and erase the tapes. What we need is to get rid of the dirty cops.

    2. In my town, the police fought having a civilian review board tooth-and-nail.  They won.

    1. Cops ARE civilians. They are NOT military and are not supposed to function like the military. They are supposed to be “US” as in we the people. The idea that they aren’t is extremely dangerous (and is unfortunately being ingrained in both cops and non-cops).

      1. Actually, I’d be pretty happy if the military were better integrated into society, as well. 

  8. I’m beginning to think that the only thing that gets a cop fired is sex with an underage boy. And not because it’s a minor, but because it’s gay and they can’t tolerate that.

  9. Unions. I’m waiting for that Jet Blue pilot who tried to crash the plane to get his job back…prob. some sort of language in contract allowing it if rehab “proven”….bet the union would back him. Will be flying empty planes for rest of his career, or Jet Blue will buy him out for 10 Mil.

      1. Cops in most places in the U.S. are unionized.   Denver’s union appears to be the DPPA.


        If you think all unions are a force for good, take a second to ponder a union run by cops.

        1. Have you a point?

          Edit – OK, perhaps I am naive about this. So swimming the other direction:

          What does a policeman have to do to get their own union to disown them?

          1. I think the point is that the unions are often run by the crooked cops or people who support the crooked cops, thus tightening the crooked bonds.  He has a point.

          2. You wanted a citation that demonstrated that a union is involved.  I provided it.

            The DPPA almost certainly provided the lawyers that successfully argued that Saunders should be reinstated. They are also almost certainly responsible for negotiating the legal structure that reinstated him (i.e. the Civil Service Commission.)

            It’s actually pretty naive to attribute this case to some amorphous cop culture. Remember, the city fired the guy. It takes a union to get somebody unfired against the will of management.

          3. …and I’ll add a funny aside about New York politics and cops.  Cops here like to cite the fact that rookies get paid a very low salary for a few years before the real adult money starts rolling in.  As if this is proof that the city hates cops.  I always point out that it is your union that made it that way, because NYPD is a bunch of dicks.  Faced with the choice between taking a mild hit across the board and screwing the rookies, they chose the latter, and now they have the temerity to whine about it.

          1. Since that report groups so many different things together, it’s hard to really make any claim about police specifically. 

            For example if we assume that “protective services” really means police and fire (it is not defined), based on the numbers provided it could be saying the complete opposite of what you think it is. For example, if 35% of “protective services” are police, and the rest are fire and other. If 98.6% of that 35% are unionized – i.e. 98.6% of police are in a union – that makes 34.5% of the total, and very few firemen and whatever else is included in that category are unionized.  

            Probably not true, but without a better breakdown of the numbers you can’t draw any more narrow conclusions from that particular report :)

    1. This has nothing to do with unions and everything to do with the culture of entitlement in PDs across the nation.

      1. Which is encouraged by a tight-knit union run by crooked cops or the people that support the crooked cops.  I think that was the point.

        Note:  I am not anti-union.  I just doubt a union for cops is going to crook-free.

        1. Right, because God knows police culture wasn’t exactly the same in the pre-union days.

      2. And the fact that most “civilian” oversight of police departments has been captured by the PDs themselves.

        (P.S. It’s really very sad that we have to put “civilian” in quotes, since police officers are supposed to be civilians vs military. But, of course, the militarization of policing is one more sad story in modern America.)

    1. I think most people are tempramentally unsuited to law enforcement work: it must be absolutely psychologically gruelling on a daily basis.  Think about it, virtually every job-related interaction you have with another person is a confrontation.

      The problem is, the kind of people who can easily tolerate that kind of thing are going to be somewhere on the psychopathic spectrum.

      1. Really the forces just need to be hiring social/cultural/behavioural experts.  Not thugs.

        It’s not complicated, but it’d require a monumental change from top to bottom.

        1. That should make dealing with demonstrations/riots/football hooliganism interesting. How would they arrest dangerous criminals?

          1. I am given to understand that even people without personality disorders can confront and deal with dangerous situations.

      2. Healthy people don’t find normal human interaction to be psychologically grueling. But, yes, if you only select dangerous thugs, they will probably have a problem with normal socialization.

        1. Healthy people don’t find normal human interaction to be psychologically grueling.

          Actually, introverts do.

          1. You don’t have to an introvert to be affected by spending your day giving people tickets or putting them in jail.  And if that is one’s definition of “normal human interaction”…

  10. I am so tired that I read the headline as, “Police officer fired for driving 143 mph, while drunk gets his job back”.
    Which meant I was trying to figure out how the officer and the re-hired drunk guy were related until I had the headsmack moment.

  11. “Moreover, the disciplinary action of termination far exceeds the discipline given to other officers in comparative or greater misconduct cases,” the commission argued.

    Well, that’s certainly reassuring.

  12. What… the fuck…

    Why don’t we just open the jails up and let everyone and their psychopathic rapist cellmate wander free if we’re letting this dickbag back on the force? I sure wish I could get my job back after being fired for doing something like going 143mph while drunk off my ass. That sounds like an awesome workplace to be in.

    “Hey, guys, I think they’re onto me about the cocaine I keep stealing from the evidence room. I guess that means I’ll have a little vacation, but keep in touch. I’ll be back soon.”

  13. Give the guy a break, we all know what it’s like when your McMuffin is taking a little too long… and who hasn’t gone 143mph after a few too many… He’s just trying to do his job really, really, really, fast.

        1. I’m gutted that you didn’t link directly to McNuggets Rage Caught On Tape.

    1. 143mph = catches Bad Guys that much FASTER!
      intoxication = allows him to THINK LIKE A CRIMINAL
      threatening a McDonalds minimum wage slave with a gun because they were taking too long = stop taking so goddamn long with the police officer’s order!

      This man should be hailed as a national hero and a template on which to base all police training and hiring decisions!

      (*gag* It hurt to type that.)

  14. This would be felony DUI and reckless driving. My opinion has always been that cops have a free pass on a major crime- the first one just gets you fired, then you’re a regular citizen who is subject to the law again. But it seems like you usually don’t even get fired. At most it’s a little paid leave until the heat blows over, that is unless a media and public opinion frenzy forces the IA’s hand to make an example out of you. And then people will still cry “witch hunt” in your defense, because it’s a tough job, etc.

  15.  I’m weirdly intrigued by what car he was driving. Here, in Europe, there aren’t many affordable vehicles that can do 143mph (230kph). Can’t find the info in the links.

    The obvious answer is that it was a cop-car but surely he wouldn’t get his job back if he was drunk on duty?

    1. It was a Infiniti g37 coupe, not a cop car. his excuse was that he thought he was only racing at 90 mph, thus illustrating why drunk driving is so dangerous.

      1. And why being bad at math is dangerous, since 99 mph is way above the speed limit just about everywhere anyway. Sure, it’s no 143, but it’s high enough.

    2. There are lots of affordable cars in the US that can go that fast – I would not have guessed he was driving an “Infiniti g37 coupe”, though a lot of that type of car is overpowered to sell better to dumb Americans.

      Muscle cars are the obvious example – Ford Mustangs and the like. They can be quite cheap – $25,000 range if not less – and are popular among the type of people who become police officers. Heck, many police forces use them as police cars even though literally any European performance car would run rings around them (but of course there are no turns in American roads).

      Also, if he was driving back from Boulder or someplace closer to the mountains there are some rather long and straight downhill sections on the freeway such that even if your car can’t do 143 on a flat surface you could easily reach that speed if you were crazy and/or drunk enough not to notice your car exceeding its structural limits.

  16. Lucky he didn’t kill anybody. The paperwork on arresting a dead person is a BITCH.

  17. Your tax dollars at work. The problem now is the power of the police unions, just like teacher unions, it’s nearly impossible to fire any “public employee”. Fire all of ’em and hire temps.

    1. Hey, Bong Bong –

      I WAS a “public employee”, and I busted my ass for 32 of my 33 years there. I saw DOZENS of fellow “unfirables” get fired, for on-site violence, showing up stoned, drug-dealing and whatever – Just like the saintly heroes out in the private sector. So Cram It, Teabagger.

      I’ll tell you who DOESN’T get fired for incompetence or wrongdoing in the public and private herds – It’s the fucking managers and white collar clowns who have ass-kissed their way into somebody’s good graces and who maintain the status quo. THEY are the ones beyond the reach of punishment, and I’d bet that Saunders is as much under somebody’s sheltering wing as he was defended by a corrupt review board.

      After all – Who do YOU think sees to it that a corrupt review board stays in place ? Dirtbags like Saunders ? Guess again, fool….

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