An Arizona sheriff’s deputy used a racial slur and told another officer to not put his “f***ing career at risk,” after he was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Body camera footage obtained by KPNX shows Pinal County Sheriff’s Deputy Julian Navarrette imploring officers to let him off. He was pulled over around 2am on 5 December 2020 after an Arizona State University police officer saw him speeding and swerving in Tempe, just east of Phoenix.
The ASU police report said he was out with friends when he was arrested. The body camera footage shows an ASU officer out of view confronting Mr Navarrette about drinking and driving.
“Yeah, but I’m also a police officer,” Mr Navarrette said in response.
“How much have you had to drink tonight?” the ASU officer asked the off-duty deputy.
“Just a couple drinks,” he said. Mr Navarrette showed the officer his badge. He asked Mr Navarrette to get out of his car after establishing that he worked for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr Navarrette said: “I’ve done this whole spiel man. What are we going through? Can we let anybody else in the vehicle go through this?”
He asked the officer to take into account that he too was in law enforcement.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an officer or not,” the ASU officer replied.
“Then that puts my job at risk, right?” Mr Navarrette asked.
“You don’t think it’s gonna put mine at risk if I don’t do this?” the officer responded.
“Dude I understand but can I, can I, maybe someone else, put, like, behind the wheel? Behind the wheel? Don’t put my f*****g career at risk,” Mr Navarrette said.
The off-duty officer said he had had three mixed drinks and tried once again to be let go, asking: “Why can’t you help me out though?”
“This isn’t New York, man,” the ASU officer said.
*“New York? N*****, I’m from Arizona dude. I’m not from New York,” Mr Navarrette said, using a racial slur.
“Dude, first of all, watch your mouth,” the officer said. He administered a field sobriety test and had Mr Navarrette blow in a breathalyzer, which showed a result of 0.121, which is above the legal limit in the state, which is 0.08.
The police report stated that Mr Navarrette was arrested on a DUI charge and taken to the police station. At the ASU station, he asked again why the officer didn’t let him go.
“You couldn’t f***ing give me the opportunity to park the car. No one reported it,” he said.
“The fact that you’re telling me that tells me you shouldn’t be an officer,” the ASU officer replied.
A Pinal County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told KPNX that they at first put Mr Navarrette on modified duty, meaning he was not to drive a vehicle, instead riding with another officer. But the spokesperson said he’s back to regular duty as of Monday.
Declining to say more, the spokesperson told 12 News: “Deputy Navarrette is currently the subject of an internal investigation related to this incident, and as such we cannot discuss the case.”
The outlet reported that they had spoken to Mr Navarrette but that he didn’t want to make a statement.
The Arizona State University police department said: “Our officers handled themselves in a professional manner, as they would with any subject they encounter.”
The Independent has reached out to the Pinal County Sheriff’s office for additional comment.