Reporting Tony Hanson
Filed underCrime and Justice, Heard On, Local, News, Philadelphia, Syndicated Local, Watch + Listen
By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A fired Philadelphia police officer has been acquitted of driving under the influence while on duty and in uniform.
The defense concedes that then-officer William Haviland was drinking in a bar while on duty, in uniform and armed. But Haviland’s attorney argued that his client was not impaired.
Today, Judge Roger Gordon found Haviland not guilty, citing evidence that Haviland had driven his patrol car without crashing.
“The judge said his operation of the vehicle was a de facto field sobriety test,” said defense attorney Joseph Kelly. “I mean, if you know the 26th District, Flora Street is a very small street, and as the one sergeant testified, very hard to navigate — sober, intoxicated, or otherwise.”
The case was also tainted by a faulty breathalyzer unit that has also undermined about 1,500 other suspected DUI cases.
Witnesses from inside the bar had testified that Officer Haviland was drinking, smelled of alcohol, and was making racial slurs — a specific charge the defense denies.
Kelly says Haviland, who had a previous DUI case in the suburbs and was fired after this incident (see previous story), now wants his Philadelphia police job back.