Police Abuse

Ohio Police Captain Gets Pulled Over While Driving Drunk; Officers Let Him Go Home

The chief weighs in: "Poor choices were made on Christmas night."


The police chief in Twinsburg, Ohio, is calling for more accountability from his own department after his officers let a Cleveland police captain go home without charges despite driving drunk.

Twinsburg Police Department Chief Christopher Noga issued a statement on Wednesday explaining the incident.

After receiving reports of an erratic driver, the officers pulled over John Sotomayor of the Cleveland Police Department on Christmas at 11:21 p.m. Sotomayor identified himself as an officer, and the Twinsburg cops believed he was showing signs of impairment.

A sergeant then arrived on the scene and decided to release Sotomayor. Sotomayor's wife picked him up; his vehicle was impounded and his gun taken.

A Cleveland station, Fox 8, obtained body camera footage from the stop and brought attention to the incident. The footage does not show officers conducting a drunk driving test. It does show officers acknowledging that Sotomayor is "highly intoxicated" and saying they were "giving him a courtesy" by allowing him to contact his wife.

Presented with the footage, the Twinsburg Police Department investigated the incident.

The station also reported that only one officer was wearing a body camera that night. Noga said that the sergeant who cleared Sotomayor should have been equipped with one.

Noga's statement included the following reflection:

Poor choices were made on Christmas night. The first was Mr. Sotomayer's decision to place the public in harm's way. The second poor choice was made by my officers to treat Mr. Sotomayer differently from anyone else in relation to their interaction with him. While the officers ensured that an impaired individual would not drive away, the fact that Mr. Sotomayer is a Cleveland Police officer should not have weighed any differently in this situation. In fact, this should hold greater weight as the choice to not arrest Mr. Sotomayer that night has affected public trust not only for us, but for law enforcement as a profession.

Noga added that the Twinsburg officers were "fully counseled" following the review.

Sotomayer has now been charged with having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, a misdemeanor.

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  1. So it IS possible to interact with an armed individual without killing anything – – – – – – – –

    1. Only because the drunk cop wasn’t stopped by a K-9 unit.

  2. Noga added that the Twinsburg officers were “fully counseled” following the review.

    Isn’t that going a bit overboard? How can these officers expect to do their jobs if they’re going to get yelled at every time they have to make a split second decision like this?

    1. The counseling consisted of “next time turn off the damn camera, you idiot!”

  3. I do have a tiny amount of sympathy for the cops in this case. They were put in a difficult situation – it must not be easy to have to apply the law to their drunk driving boss. Still, they couldn’t do the right thing and revealed that policing is more of an insider’s club rather than the neutral application of the law.

    1. It wasn’t their boss.

      1. Oh, guess I should read the article.
        I take back my tiny sympathy then.

      2. Remember the Florida cop who pulled over the marked car that was speeding without lights?

        It wasn’t her chain of command but things still didn’t go well for her.

        1. The Blue Wall of Silence has severe penalties for being crossed. Omerta is probably the closest comparison in some department.
          Remember Serpico? Some departments can’t clean up until our legislators do something and they’re apparently all afraid or on the take.

  4. How many non-police got busted for DUI that night?

  5. Noga added that the Twinsburg officers were “fully counseled” following the review.

    “Guys, please don’t drink and drive.”

    1. “with a body cam on”

  6. Hey, come on. Its not like Sotomayer shot a black person or a dog or anything.

  7. Sotomayer has now been charged with having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, a misdemeanor.

    No evidence. Case dismissed.

  8. If he didn’t have an accident and didn’t cause any damage or harm anyone, I have no problem with them letting him go.

    My problem lies with them not doing the same thing for non-cops.

    No reason they can’t do the same “courtesy” for everyone they encounter.

      1. Pretty sure “courtesy” is how they pronounce “quid pro quo” in blue circles.

    1. After all, unlike this guy, local taxpayers ARE their boss.

    2. How very libertarian of you.

  9. It must be nice to not have the rules apply to you. Kind of awkward though that only one cop had a bodycam on him, and then it gets released to the media. I have a feeling that guy’s gonna be let go sometime in the next few weeks.

    Anyone want to take bets whether the department would have done anything if Fox 8 hadn’t gotten wind of the story?

  10. “only one officer” with the body cam… didn’t commit suicide…

  11. Counseling for the officers that let their buddy go. Wow. Until police that commit obvious crimes are charged with crimes just like everyone else, they’ll continue to commit crimes. Until laws are passed that make it a crime to overlook the crimes of fellow officers, fellow officers will continue to cover for the criminals among them rather than help convict them. That means more murders at the hands of police and every other type of lesser crime. These are grown men who are supposed to know the law. There is no excuse for this behavior in anyone’s book.

  12. “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

    For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:”…

    “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

    Do these words not describe the US police state to a T?

    1. All but the one about Quartering. So far, nobody has said, “Good afternoon, citizen. This is Patrolman Jordan. You need to give him a bedroom and provide his board.” Quartering is all about putting them in your home on a long-term basis.

  13. Alcohol was illegal in Mayberry but when Otis showed up and just let hisself in Andy didn’t pay it no mind. Sometimes Aunt Bea would bring him some breakfast so as he could sober up and get on home.

    Thing is when it is one of their own it’s all Andy Taylor. When it’s one of us it is all Barney Fife.

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