Gordon's attorneys: Police body cam didn't record for more than 20 minutes
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III had his two DUI charges dismissed in court Wednesday.
DENVER — Attorneys for Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III say body camera video of Gordon’s arrest that TMZ Sports released Thursday lacks proper context – and more than 20 minutes from the event that were not recorded by the two Denver Police (DPD) officers at the scene.
DPD told 9NEWS it released the video to TMZ in response to an open records request. One day earlier, Eric Nesbitt and Robert Malen defended Gordon on two charges of driving under the influence and one for speeding in a Denver District Court before Judge Olympia Fay.
The two DUI charges were dismissed with Deputy District Attorney Mary Krenzen telling the court, "based on issues with the stop in this case that would have led to some likely suppression (of evidence) issues, the People cannot prove a ... driving under the influence case beyond a reasonable doubt.''
On Thursday, a body cam video of Gordon’s arrest surfaced that could draw the attention of the NFL discipline office. In the video, Gordon does admit he was drinking.
“The matter remains under review,’’ an NFL spokesman told 9NEWS.
Nesbitt and Malen responded to the video with a statement:
“Despite the release of Mr. Gordon’s arrest video today by the Denver Police Department, Mr. Gordon remains innocent of the charge of DUI, as those charges were properly dismissed by the District Attorney. The video released today does not tell the whole story, and the defense team has refrained from comment to this point to ensure a fair process.
“The decision of the Denver District Attorney to dismiss the DUI charges against Mr. Gordon was supported by numerous legal and professional violations brought to their attention by the defense team. Those violations rose to the level of clear violation of Mr. Gordon's constitutional rights.
“The two officers that arrested Mr. Gordon disabled or otherwise failed to activate their body-worn cameras, resulting in a failure to record at least 20 minutes of the stop. This behavior is the opposite that one would expect from sworn police officers, and raises significant questions about the motive for those actions. With clearly defined policies and procedures on the use of body worn cameras, and in the current climate of racial injustice, anything less than a complete, unaltered recording is unacceptable. This is especially so where the portion of the video that was captured is inconclusive.”
“The threshold to dismiss a DUI case in Colorado is extremely high, and is only legally permitted where the District Attorney makes certain good faith representations to the Court about their ability to make a case at trial. The District Attorney made that representation here; hence, there was no case for DUI.”
Gordon received the two DUI charges, and a speeding ticket for going 71 mph in 35 mph at 5th Avenue and Speer Boulevard after he was arrested by officer Gary Rich and officer Ryan Okken, according to the police report.
Gordon did plead guilty to an added reckless driving charge because of his excessive speed. He received an 8-point penalty on his driver’s license and was ordered to participate in 12 hours of community service (which he already served through Denver Broncos charities last season) and pay $479 in fines and court costs.
In the video, Gordon told the officer from his driver’s seat that he had one drink, Pinot Grigio. The video then cuts to Gordon performing his field sobriety test. In the police report written by Rich, it stated Gordon “performed unsatisfactorily.”
The video then shows Gordon getting handcuffed with the officer stating he was getting arrested for a possible DUI.
The video cuts away again to Gordon standing with his hands cuffed behind the back, saying, “I’ve been drinking.”
“I know, I can tell,’’ said an officer.
“I play for the Broncos, you probably know,’’ Gordon said.
The officers can be heard urging Gordon to take a blood test “because of all this COVID, I can get an ambulance out here, they can pull your blood and I can release you to a sober party … you’re not going to go to jail, you’re not going to go to detox. You will be summoned to court, though.”
“I’m not going to lie to you, this is the first time I’ve been in cuffs ever in my life,’’ Gordon said. “I am not a problem child.”
The two officers urged a hesitant Gordon to take a blood test. The video ended with Gordon consenting to take the blood test, “if you promise me it won’t get in the news.”
“I promise you,’’ the officer said.
A 9NEWS city desk editor came across Gordon’s summons a couple of hours later and helped break the news of Gordon’s arrest.
Any type of plea or guilty charge would have caused the NFL to slap Gordon with a three-game suspension for violating its substance abuse policy and in turn the Broncos could have voided the $4.5 million guaranteed salary for 2021.
While the NFL in recent years has deferred to the legal system before passing judgment on player’s discipline, the league can impose its own penalties regardless of verdict.