Patrick Kennedy and the leeway available to police?

I was listening to the evening news when they mentioned that Kennedy had wrecked his car while under the influence. Assuming it was Senator Kennedy I looked up to see that it was actually his son, Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy. The policeman at the scene was ordered by his superiors to drive him home. Following the news was a celebrity show (Extra?) that showed the same man roughing up a security screener at an airport.

Wow. So how much leeway can police give in these circumstances? I would think ordering a subordinate to cover up a DUI would constitute a serious breach of duty.

Kennedy had taken conflicting medicines that made him look drunk, but he didn’t have too much alcohol.

I think the point is, it it had been one of us, the great unwashed, who almost crashed into a barricade, declared we needed to get somewhere when the cops knew that somewhere had closed hours before, and was staggering around, I doubt the police would have given us a ride home and left it at that.

I think someone needs to question the police as to their decision.

The question of his inability to drive is not in question. The police report clearly showed him impared and he admitted having a drug abuse problem.

The question is how much leeway police have in this situation.

If I had to take a WAG, I guess it depends on what your last name is.

It’s a given that there was influence at the top. As ugly as that is I suspect it will always be that way in the real world. But the police report is a matter of record so the people who made this decision must feel comfortable enough to do it in the light of day.

I’m hoping a police officer can explain the Grand Canyon sized gap between how I would be treated and how someone higher up on the food change gets treated. There must be a substantial amount of wiggle room in how circumstances are mitigated. I’m wondering if I did the exact same thing could I simply declare the Kennedy gambit as precedent and get free taxi service to my home?

Here’s a follow-up, if anyone would care to field it. What, specifically, is in it for the police supervisors who supposedly authorized driving Mr. Kennedy home without doing the usual DUI checks? Everyone is claiming ‘influence’ of some kind, but precisely what is the nature of that influence, particularly if (I surmise from the lack of mention in any news reports) none of the police personnnel involved happen to be close personal friends of Mr. Kennedy?

I mean, I could understand if one Kennedy or another might be treated with kid gloves by the local police in their home constituencies, but in DC? I’m not seeing it.

What ivylass said. :rolleyes:

Police have a great deal of leeway when dealing with people. Even if you are the great unwashed, the police make their decisions, on the ground, as it happens.

Usually, we might discuss this topic when an officer decided to shoot somebody and it turns out it was a bad idea.

But Washington D.C. is a ‘company’ town and you can bet that the police don’t crack down too hard on any of the members of congress. So the influence is that the police HQ looked up the name of the guy and said, “awww, just drive him home”.

My first husband was stopped by police in Seattle when he stopped for a green light. It was after 2 a.m. and it should have been obvious that he was DUI. One of the cops drove him home. No arrest, no ticket.

He was within a few blocks of home, he wasn’t speeding or weaving, and he was polite to the officers. They gave him a break.

There was a time when they might do that in my area but there is supposed to be a zero tolerance for DUI. You can’t even sleep it off in your car if the keys are in your possession. The idea behind detaining someone who is not in control of their vehicle is to protect the public at large.

That’s a good policy.

I don’t understand why he wasn’t arrested. It’s the only time I’ve personally heard of someone stopped while driving under the influence and not being arrested. When he told people one of the cops drove him home, they didn’t believe him.

About a week ago the Portland P.D. stopped the director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, she was DUI and resigned a day or two later. I think she still has to answer for the charge though. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard of anyone catching a break after being stopped for a DUI.

Isn’t that still illegal?

I think that they didn’t believe that he was stupid enough to go blabbing that one of the cops drove him home.

Remember when JFK Jr. died, and they diverted that warship so they could scatter his ashes at sea? I remember hearing some High Muckity-Muck in the military admitting openly that they were giving the Kennedy’s special treatment that us common folk would never get.

As a son of a President, JFK JR. was legally entitled to a burial at sea, by the USN. It was special treatment that he deserved. The only odd thing about that was that there was a backlog of people who were waiting for their burial at sea, (former officers, etc.) and that the Navy let the Kennedy’s jump the line.

They didn’t ‘divert’ a warship. USN ships pull this duty all the time. Like when my father passed, there was an honor guard of soldiers from the nearby base, to carry the coffin, play taps, fire the salute, fold the flag, etc. The soldiers work this duty as a normal part of being soldiers. The only difference for JFK Jr. is that he got this because he was the son of a president and had not actually served in the military himself.

My head did a 360 on that one. the SON of a President is entitled to burial at sea? I guess that leaves Senator Kennedy off the hook for that one. Do you, by chance, have a cite for that? It always bothered me that someone with no military background received this treatment.

There’s a substancial difference (financiall) between driving a war ship around and the use of an honor guard. I realize that higher placed people in the military get a nicer sendoff but JFK-Junior did nothing to deserve this treatment. Particularly since he drove himself to the grave with an audience to boot.

But back to the subject. The purpose of a no tolerance policy on DUI is to protect the public. When it eventually gets to court then mitigating circumstances can be used to soften the blow. Kennedy could be mandated into rehab along with some conditional restrictions on his license upon completion. He is now free to do as he pleases behind the wheel and that has not been an historically good idea.

But do you know if Washington DC has a no-tolerence policy with suspected DUI?

Even so, I’m willing to give Police Officers the power to make ‘judgement calls’ on what to do.
Burial at Sea is an option for Navy personal. They spread his ashes. One usually has to wait till a schedualed time and they were let to the front of the line for that one. They could have used their own boat for this but then there would a been a floatilla of papparazzi and other on lookers. The Navy was able to take them to a restricted area.

I don’t have a cite for the ‘son of the president’ but I remember reading/hearing that explanation at the time.

I don’t disagree with you on the ability to make judgement calls but this did not occur. A junior officer was directed by someone above him who was not at the scene. The officer is on record as observing a person who was not in control of his facilities. At some point, even without a no-tolerance policy, an officer is bound by his job to protect the public. I’m not seeing anything that looks like a grey line here. I’d expect the same treatment for anyone in this situation.