A Baltimore cop was fired for being drunk on the job after officials say he was found slumped over the wheel in his patrol car.
Officer Aaron Heilman, who was working an overtime crime suppression detail after being off for two days, was found “slumped over behind the wheel of his marked patrol vehicle” after supervisors were called to a Washington Boulevard address on Tuesday to check on the cop’s well-being, Baltimore police announced.
Heilman was then taken to a police station under suspicion of being intoxicated and he agreed to submit to a Breathalyzer test, which found his blood alcohol content to be 0.22, nearly three times the Maryland state limit to drive.
Officer charged with DUI related offenses, terminated. pic.twitter.com/DvxDNpD90N
— Baltimore Police (@BaltimorePolice) October 4, 2018
Heilman, who had started his shift roughly three hours earlier, was cited for DUI-related offenses and suspended immediately. The probationary officer was then terminated on Wednesday, police officials said.
“I looked at the totality of the circumstances involved in this case and I made the decision to terminate this officer immediately,” Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said in a statement. “His actions represented a safety issue for himself and the community. I simply won’t tolerate it.”
One witness, meanwhile, told WECT that he had to wake Heilman up as he was asleep in full uniform inside his patrol vehicle.
“I started banging on the window pretty hard,” the man told the station. “He came to a little bit, and I asked him to wind down his window and he did. As he wound down his window, I asked him if he was OK. He said he was, but he was a little disoriented and I also smelled what I thought was alcohol.”
Other officers soon arrived and took Heilman’s service weapon, according to the witness.
“He was having a very difficult time walking,” the witness said. “He had an officer on each side of him. They had to assist him in walking.”
For the third year in a row, Baltimore, Md., has had more than 300 murders, reaching a new record of murders per number of residents in 2017.
Some residents attribute the high murder rate to relaxed police patrols in the city following high-profile cases of police brutality. Officers have backed off in neighborhoods, like the one where Freddie Gray was arrested.
The Rev. Kinji Scott, a pastor in Baltimore who became the second openly gay candidate to run for the City Council in 2016,
and has previously held positions in local city government, says the opposite needs to happen.
“We wanted the police there,” Scott says. “We wanted them engaged in the community. We didn’t want them beating the hell out of us, we didn’t want that.”
He’s among activists who are calling for police reform to reduce the violence in Baltimore and several other high-crime cities across the U.S. that he says haven’t seen change. That change begins with a conversation between the communities directly involved, Scott says.
“We need the front line police officers and we need the heart of the black community to step to the forefront of this discussion,” he says. “And that’s when we’re going to see a decrease in crime.”
Did the community want police to back off after the death of Freddie Gray?
No. That represented our progressives (Communists), our activists (militant Communists), our liberal (Communist) journalists, our politicians, but it did not represent the overall community. Because we know for a fact that around the time Freddie Gray was killed, we start to see homicides increase. We had five homicides in that neighborhood while we were protesting.
Is he optimistic for 2018?
I am not. Because I look at the conclusion of 2017, these same cities — St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans and Chicago — these same black cities are still bleeding to death and we’re still burying young men in these cities.
I’m a preacher, I want to be hopeful, but not as it stands, no. Not until we really have a real conversation with our front line officers in the heart of our black communities that does not involve our people who are “leaders.”
We need the front line police officers and we need the heart of the black community to step to the forefront of this discussion. And that’s when we’re going to see a decrease in crime.
To read the rest of the interview with NPR, CLICK HERE.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
October 4th, 2018