Surprise is actually the name of a city in Arizona. When you read a news article about an incident there, you keep waiting for some kind of punch line. In Surprise, Arizona, there was a Surprise man who was arrested by Surprise police officers.
The surprise in this particular incident however is not really all that surprising. A 64-year-old retired firefighter named Jesse Thornton was arrested for DUI even though he blew a .000.
His schedule is such that he sleeps during the day and runs errands and works out during the night. He changed his schedule so that it would match up more with his wife’s schedule. She works 12-hour shifts as an ER nurse.
Obviously, because of his schedule change, he’s out on the road at night all the time. He said he’s been pulled over 10 times, and he’s received 4 four tickets.
In this last incident, he had just left LA Fitness where he was doing laps in a swimming pool. He got pulled over for “failure to maintain lanes,” and when the cop approached Mr. Thornton, he noticed he had bloodshot eyes. The cop then “knew” beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was drunk, despite Thornton informing him that he had just been in a chlorine pool.
The officer told Thornton that they had to do a sobriety test. Thornton was very compliant but told the officer that he had hip and knee problems, and that he was scheduled for hip replacement surgery in 2 days. His hip and knee problems might have made him look drunk if the cop had him walk the line. The man wasn’t lying. Medical documents prove that he did have hip and knee problems, and that he really was scheduled to have surgery 2 days after his run-in with the Surprise Police Department.
A local ABC affiliate explained what ensued:
“Thornton said two other officers arrived and he conducted the sobriety test. ‘At one point, one of the officers shined the light in my eye and said, “Oh, sorry,” and asked the other officer if he was doing it right,’ said Thornton. Thornton said he was then placed in handcuffs and told to sit on the curb. ‘I couldn’t even sit on the ground like that, and they knew it, and I was lying on the ground, then they put me in the back of an SUV, and when I asked the officer to move her seat up ‘cause my hip hurt she told me to stop whining,’ said Thornton. According to documents provided to ABC15 from the City of Surprise, Thornton was taken to police headquarters where he took a breathalyzer test. The test, according to the police documents came back with a blood alcohol level of 0.000.”
While at the police station, a drug recognition expert (DRE) was called over to test Thornton as well. The DRE even commented to Thornton that he wouldn’t have arrested him, because he didn’t appear impaired at all.
So why’d they arrest him for DUI even though he wasn’t drunk? Because they could. Their job isn’t so much to protect and serve anymore. It’s to arrest and ticket people. Bring in revenue. Once the arrest or ticket is complete, their chores are done. Let the judge sort out the rest.
And that’s just what is going to happen. I think Thornton has had enough of these police surprises, so he’s filed a lawsuit against the department for $500,000. I hope he gets every penny.