U.S.

Michigan police officer arrived to crime scene 'intoxicated,' vomiting

The Flat Rock police sergeant was suspended for seven days and faced no charges.

Michigan police officer arrived to crime scene 'intoxicated,' vomiting
Flat Rock Police Department via Scripps News Detroit.
SMS

An “intoxicated” Detroit-area police sergeant drove his police vehicle to a crime scene, was observed stumbling and vomiting, and later aimed his gun while searching for a shooting suspect.

He was neither given a Breathalyzer test nor charged with a crime.

The incident took place Feb. 17, when officers responded to the scene of a shooting. One of the officers on the scene was Flat Rock Sgt. Brian Tetreau, the department’s K-9 officer, who was called to the scene while he was off duty at home.

Just after 6 p.m., Tetreau is seen on police body cam video stepping out of his black police SUV. At the time he pulled up, the alleged shooter was still missing.

As one officer brings the sergeant to up speed on the case, Tetreau is seen adjusting his shoes. In the middle of February, with temperatures in the 20s, Tetreau arrived to the crime scene wearing Crocs.

“Didn’t realize I was wearing Crocs until I left the house,” he is heard saying.

Quickly, the sergeant and his K-9 begin the search for suspects, first along the tree line and then deeper into the subdivision. Minutes later, Tetreau focuses his attention inside a crawl space under one of the homes.

“Anyone inside of this building, you’re gonna get bit!” Tetreau shouted while releasing his police dog.

Seconds later, the sergeant pulled out his firearm and aimed it into the crawl space, but no one was inside. Tetreau can then be seen struggling to put his gun back in its holster.

An internal police investigation would later say Tetreau “had the odor of intoxicants” on his breath, that he “reported for duty under the influence,” and “appeared ... intoxicated.”

He admitted to consuming alcohol earlier in the afternoon.

Initially, Flat Rock officials refused to reveal the investigation at all, denying a public records request from Scripps News Detroit.

But when the news station appealed to Flat Rock’s mayor, his office turned over a redacted copy of the probe, with entire sections blacked out.

That included an email sent to the city’s mayor and police chief by a resident who had witnessed Tetreau’s behavior.

The city blacked out part of the email, but Scripps News Detroit obtained an unredacted copy revealing that the woman said Tetreau “vomited twice before stumbling after another officer,” adding that he “looked like he was drunk.”

That moment appears to be caught on body camera, though the city blurred the video, claiming it was exempt from disclosure.

Car splits in half after being hit by a vehicle going over 100 mph
Car splits in half after being hit by a vehicle going over 100 mph

Car splits in half after being hit by a vehicle going over 100 mph

Several people were injured in the highway crash in Michigan.

LEARN MORE

A suspect would later be apprehended. No one was hurt as a result of the sergeant’s conduct.

In a memo, Flat Rock Police Chief Jerry Page called Tetreau’s behavior “the very definition of Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer,” adding that the “civil liabilities of your actions ... put the City of Flat Rock ... in a position I never want to be in.”

But even though Tetreau had the odor of alcohol on his breath, there is no record he was ever tested with a Breathalyzer. In his investigation, Page wrote that "I do not have (an) alcohol reading on a PBT."

While it is a crime to drive a vehicle while intoxicated and to carry a firearm while under the influence, Scripps News Detroit has learned no warrant was submitted to the Wayne County Prosecutor and Tetreau was never charged with a crime. He was suspended for seven days.

Reached by phone, Tetreau declined comment. Records show he agreed to serve his week-long suspension, seek medical treatment if necessary, and subject himself to random Breathalyzer tests.

“It goes beyond embarrassment. It’s the sheer danger of the situation,” said Reginald Crawford, a retired Detroit police officer who is a former of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, which oversees DPD. “It has the appearance that you looked out for the officer.”

Crawford said Tetreau’s conduct — from driving a vehicle to utilizing a K-9 and ultimately raising his firearm — posed a “danger to the other officers (and) danger to the community.”

Chief Page would not agree to an interview about Tetreau’s conduct. But Scripps News Detroit caught up with him at a City Council meeting held earlier this month.

“Your own officers suspected the sergeant was drunk," said Scripps News correspondent Ross Jones. "Why was he not given a Breathalyzer?”

“We received a complaint," Page replied. "That complaint was investigated and he had no other discipline in his record. And he was disciplined."

Jones continued: “And your officers believed he was intoxicated, yet he wasn’t given a Breathalyzer.” 

Page replied: "I can’t testify to what was brought to my attention later."

Page declined to answer any additional questions before walking away.

Later that night at the same City Council meeting, Page submitted his retirement as police chief. Mayor Mark Hammond later said that the timing of his departure was a coincidence.

This story was originally published by Ross Jones at Scripps News Detroit.