Our nation’s police officers do a very valuable service to the community. Off-duty, they are normal civilians, and unfortunately get in trouble with the law too.
Off-duty Chicago Illinois police Officer Richard Bolling had just downed some drinks at a bar late one night in 2009 and was speeding home munching on fast food when suddenly he saw a bicyclist coming toward him.
The 42-year-old veteran narcotics officer said he quickly changed lanes to avoid a collision but that the bicyclist turned directly into the path of his black Dodge Charger.
The bicyclist, 13-year-old Trenton Booker, died at the scene. In court he claimed that he couldn’t believe what had happened, nevertheless he fled but was arrested a few blocks away driving the wrong. His car was damaged and blood-stained and an open beer bottle was sitting in the front console.
Bolling denied he was intoxicated, testifying he had only two drinks that night.
Did Bolling receive preferential treatment from police that night? One of the officers who stopped him testified earlier this week that she was ordered to "hold off" on a field-sobriety test by her watch commander.
The two arresting officers reported at the time that Bolling passed, but both officers testified at the trial that they now felt he had flunked key parts of the tests. One officer said she was "nervous" when she administered the tests because of all the superior officers at the scene.
It wasn't until 4 1/2 hours after the crash that Bolling, on orders of an internal affairs sergeant, took a blood-alcohol breath test, registering just below the legal limit of 0.08 percent. At his trial a state forensic toxicologist, told jurors that she estimated Bolling's blood-alcohol content at the time of crash was as much as twice the legal limit. She put his range at 0.124 to 0.169 percent, depending on how fast he metabolizes alcohol.
Lie, Lie, Lie
Bolling testified he'd been at a South Side lounge with friends for less than two hours and had had one vodka drink and one beer. As he was leaving, Bolling said, the bartender slid him another beer on the house. He took the beer with him in the car but barely sipped it, he said.
But it was a different story Bolling told the internal affairs sergeant the night of the crash - that he had consumed three beers and two shots of vodka.
Bolling claimed he kept driving after the crash because he was in a state of shock. He said he recalled gripping the steering wheel tight and talking to himself.
Shameful behavior by one of Chicago’s finest. I hope he takes a good 24 hour alcohol class and seeks counseling and can again become one of the “finest.”