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“We’re trying to release you,” officers let police captain walk away after being picked up for driving drunk


Robin Goist
Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

Cleveland police are investigating a captain, who was stopped by Twinsburg officers for suspected drunken driving, but was not cited and was allowed to call his wife to get a ride home.

A Cleveland police spokeswoman confirmed to cleveland.com on Friday that the department is conducting an internal review of the Fourth District captain, John Sotomayor, who was armed at the time of the traffic stop on Christmas Day.

Twinsburg police released copies of the officers’ body-camera and cruiser footage, which does not show Sotomayor being subjected to any sobriety tests and has one of the officers saying they were trying to give “a break” to the driver.

“We’re trying to give you a break here,” one officer said. “You’re driving with alcohol in your system and a gun on your hip. We got calls about you driving up the freeway on the shoulder. You’re trying to find your way home. I don’t want to have to put you in handcuffs and take you to jail. You know what’s going on here, right?”

Just before 11:30 p.m. on Christmas day, a woman called 911 about an apparently drunk driver who had pulled off in a pickup truck on the side of Interstate 480 eastbound.

“He did pull over, like, people were flagging him because he was straggling and going across lines,” the caller states.

Body-camera footage shows one Twinsburg officer later asking the driver of the pickup why he had pulled over on the side of the freeway.

“Not sure,” the man responded.

The officer also asked whether the driver was carrying a gun, and the man said he had his service weapon holstered to his hip.

She asked where he was coming from that evening, and he said, “Cleveland.”

“Where in Cleveland? Were you working? Were you at a holiday party? Where were you at?” she asked.

The driver said, “No, ma’am. I was at Cleveland.”

Another officer remarked that there was a “smell of alcohol” in the car.

Officers had the truck towed, and the driver left with his wife.

A Twinsburg police spokesman said in a news release that the department will conduct its own internal review into whether officers followed the department’s policies.


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