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Alcohol cited in LAPD officer's alleged firing of gun near downtown pub

Several Los Angeles police officers were being questioned Wednesday in connection with an early morning incident in which at least one of them fired a gunshot outside a downtown pub, said several department sources familiar with the investigation.

No one was hurt in the incident reported about 2 a.m. near Weiland Brewery Restaurant in the 400 block of E. 1st Street, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

Three off-duty officers were outside the pub when one of them pulled out a gun and fired at least one shot in the direction of a street lamp, according to the sources.

Based on preliminary information, the sources said, investigators believe the officer was impaired after a heavy night of drinking, which, barring additional evidence, was cited as "the primary factor" in the incident.

The officers were not identified. The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents the LAPD's 10,000 officers, had no immediate comment on the incident.

In April, league President Paul M. Weber warned officers about the risks of alcohol and provided information on where they could get help in an article in the union's internal newsletter, The Thin Blue Line.

"Estimates show that alcohol abuse among police officers in the United States is approximately double that of the general population, wherein one in 10 adults abuses alcohol," Weber wrote. "While the social use of alcohol may be accepted in most professions, excessive drinking by police officers can impair their ability to function properly at work and may result in disciplinary issues."

Alcohol impairment was cited as a factor in two fatal accidents that claimed the lives of LAPD officers.

In December, LAPD Officer Kenneth Aragon, a 19-year veteran of the department and a father of five, was killed after several hours of drinking with other officers and guests in a banquet room outfitted with a bar on the upper floor of the Los Angeles Police Academy's main building. LAPD officials said Aragon's blood-alcohol level was "well over" the legal limit.

Aragon had attended an unofficial but regular get-together known as "payday Wednesday" that had been held every other week at the Elysian Park campus. That event was discontinued in January after Aragon's death.

In February, off-duty Officer Jacqueline Montalvo, 37, a veteran of the LAPD's Hollywood Division, died after she swerved into oncoming traffic, causing a chain-reaction auto accident in Diamond Bar, authorities said. The Los Angeles County coroner determined that her blood-alcohol level was 0.18%, more than twice the legal limit for driving.

With those incidents in mind, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck last month addressed the alcohol problem, which has emerged as a national issue in policing circles, in a message to the department's rank and file.

"Using alcohol to deal with job stress can quickly lead to alcohol abuse and drinking and driving," Beck wrote. "Statistics from 2006-2008 revealed that on average, 21 department employees, sworn and civilian, are arrested each year for DUI... When consumption of alcohol leads to abuse and dependence connected to psychological concerns, the effects are seen and felt at home and the workplace."

-- Andrew Blankstein and Joel Rubin

Comments () | Archives (29)

Most everyone likes to go and have a few beers after work, but the off duty cops at Weiland Brewery are often really drunk, and occasionally fight citizens, then they get the family courtesy and are sent home with no repercussions.
I am a bike messenger, when we acted up at Weiland Brewery, we got kicked out of all of them, cops never got banned. When we fight and act stupid, we go to jail. We dont have guns because we cant afford them, otherwise we would.
We are all human, so we should all be treated the same when we make mistakes. Just saying.

Cops Gone Wild!

The cops in this city are ridiculous, and incidents like this make it impossible to respect them - they may be protecting citizens in some way in high crime areas south of the 10, but up in the Hollywood area, I have never seen them do ANYTHING to help anyone...they are here on patrol as prostitutes for the city, imposing fines, harassing people, entrapping people, etc. etc. What can we do when the police do more to destroy people's lives by abuse of power than they do to protect them? And at the same time, they put us all in danger by driving drunk out of their heads and shooting their guns in the streets!

The next time I get pulled over and forced to give a breathalyzer I should say "You first!" I'm sure there are plenty of cops that pull people over for DUI while they're sitting in their patrol cars drinking! I was followed from a bar a few years back for 3 miles after having one and a half beers, and finally pulled over for a cracked tail light, and blew a 0.08 and arrested, when the cop admitted he knew I was completely sober and driving fine. It's all a scam and revenue for the city, that's it. When I went to the classes, I found out more than 90% of the people arrested had similar circumstances and were unreasonably entrapped or harassed.

but they can do whatever they want? Including crashing into innocent citizens with their cars on drunken binges? That detective in Monrovia? She got what she deserved - period! Any cop found drinking and driving SHOULD be held to a higher standard - immediately fired, and given mandatory 90 days in prison and put in the general population! If the stress of their jobs is too much and forces them to drink and drive and commit felonies that they hypocritically impose on the rest of us for kicks, they would be better off just quitting and getting out of the job.

Really, they should get what is coming to them but why all the bashing. How many of you would worry about maybe losing your job or being suspended if your work found out?! Im sure your jobs dont give a rat's behind about what you do on the side.

And legalizing cannibis?! PLEASE!!!! Imagine cops indulging in that if it were legal?!........."Really Ma'am, just relax. We will find your car, I mean your cat, I mean your missing child........somewhere."

Until people realize cops are still just human, they are going to get drunk people doing stupid things- cops or not.

Joe M.-Whats the alternative? Calling a gang member, collaborative shop, or your mother-in-law when someone threatens your life or livelihood?! Are you kidding me?!

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