TEMPE — Body camera footage from Arizona State University Police officers shows a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy blurting out a racist word as he tried to convince officers not to arrest him for suspected drunken driving.
Deputy Julian Navarrette, 26, was pulled over by an ASU Police officer around 2 a.m. on Dec. 5 after the officer allegedly saw Navarrette pull out of a bar in the 900 block of East University Drive in Tempe at a high rate of speed, according to ASU Police reports. The officer allegedly clocked Navarrette’s vehicle at 60 mph in a 40 mph zone. He also allegedly noticed that Navarrette was swerving between lanes.
Navarrette was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of liquor/drugs/vapor/combo and driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. He is still working for PCSO, pending the outcomes of the criminal (by ASU) and internal (review by PCSO) cases, Sam Saizwedel, a spokesman for PCSO, said in an email.
The more than hour-long body camera footage of the traffic stop from the officer starts with Navarrette allegedly showing his PCSO badge and telling the officer that he’s a Pinal County deputy. The officer requests that an ASU Police sergeant respond to the scene.
Body camera footage from both the officer and the sergeant shows Navarette repeatedly asking both officers to help him out, let him go or let him call someone else to drive the car home.
“Can we let anyone else in the vehicle go through this?” he asks the officer before the sergeant arrives.
“Why would we do that?” the officer asks.
“So, we can go home,” Navarrette says.
“But you’ve been drinking, dude, and you were driving,” the officer says.
“Yeah, but I’m also a police officer,” Navarrette says.
“That doesn’t excuse your behavior,” the officer says.
The video shows Navarrette continuing to try to convince the officer that he should let him go.
“But then that puts my job at risk, right?” Navarrette says.
“You don’t think that it’s going to put mine at risk if I don’t do this?” the officer asks.
“Dude, I understand but can I put someone else behind the reel, behind the wheel?” Navarrette asks.
At one point, the officer asks Navarette if he is refusing to do field sobriety tests that would show if he’s intoxicated or not.
“I understand if I refuse then you’re going to place me under arrest and that’s some bull----,” Navarrette says.
“Is it though?” the officer asks.
Navarrette then asks to speak to the sergeant, who by this time has arrived and has been watching some of the conversation.
“Talk to my sergeant. He’s going to tell you the same thing,” the officer says.
Navarrette then turns to the sergeant and starts to try and convince him to let him go, asking the sergeant, who is Black, to “Help me out brother, help me out.”
The sergeant asks Navarrette how many drinks he’s had, what kind of drinks, when he started and stopped drinking and if Navarrette feels he’s safe to drive.
Navarrette allegedly admits to the sergeant that he had three mixed drinks starting around 11 p.m. and he stopped drinking around midnight, but he feels OK to drive.
“I’m just trying to get my f---ing friends home” and “You’re risking my f---ing career,” Navarette says.
The sergeant points out that the two ASU officers have a job to do and Navarette would have to do the same thing if the roles were reversed.
“You know, if that were the case. I would have … I would have found help… I would have said, ‘Hey, you know call a f---ing brother, call his sister, call a friend. Let me get you out of this situation and that’s what I would have done,” Navarrette says.
Navarette continues to lace the conversation with numerous expletives, causing the first officer, at about 10 minutes into his body camera footage, to say, “Dude listen, this isn’t New York man, OK” in reference to Navarette’s language.
“New York?! N-----, I’m from Arizona, dude. I’m not from New York,” Navarrette says.
“Dude, first of all, watch your mouth,” the officer snaps at him. “Second of all, I’m trying to make a point with you.”
“Yeah?” Navarrette asks.
“OK?! We do things way different out here than they do in New York,” the officer says.
“I’m not from New York,” Navarrette says, sounding puzzled. “Why would you think I’m from New York?”
The officer takes Navarrette into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence after Navarrette allegedly shows several cues during a series of field sobriety tests that he may be intoxicated and a portable breathalyzer test shows him to have a blood alcohol content of 0.121%. He’s transported to the ASU police station.
As the officer is writing up the citation paperwork, Navarrette makes several derogatory comments about ASU, the situation he has found himself in and how he feels he’s been treated by officers.
“You know, I’m sure at some point they’re going to want to take a look at the body cam video,” the sergeant warns. “So, I’d encourage you to kind of think about that when you look at your demeanor and how you’re acting right now.”
“Yeah, I’m pissed,” Navarrette says. “Because I’ve helped many motherf---ers out. A lot of f---ing times, because we don’t carry body cameras, dude.”
Navarette allegedly consented to two additional breath tests at the station. While he and the officer wait the mandatory 15 minutes to make sure he doesn’t eat, drink, spit, vomit or attempt any other method of changing the level of alcohol that might be in his system, Navarrette continues to curse, try to convince the officer to let him off and claim that body cameras are not an advantage to officers because they prevent officers from using their discretion in various situations.
At around 3 a.m., Navarrette takes two breath tests that allegedly show him to have a blood alcohol content of 0.147% and 0.144%.
As the officer is fingerprinting Navarette, the officer acknowledges that Navarette doesn’t like body cameras but the cameras have saved his “bacon” several times in the past. The officer also states, “I would have done the same thing (arrested Navarrette), even if I didn’t have a body cam.”
Navarette scoffs at the comment.
“You couldn’t f---ing give me an opportunity to park the car. I didn’t put anyone in danger. I wasn’t in f---ing on-coming traffic. No one reported …,” he says before the officer interrupts him.
“The fact that you’re telling me that … tells me that you shouldn’t be an officer,” the officer snaps at him.
Navarette was eventually allowed to call his girlfriend, who called an Uber to pick him up at the station to drive him home.