San Diego police records released Friday reveal an apparent contradiction about what happened to the paperwork from City Council hopeful B.D. Howard’s September 2007 DUI arrest.
Officials from the City Attorney’s Office have said they have no record of receiving paperwork from the Police Department. But a police arrest log released to voiceofsandiego.org in response to a California Public Records Act request indicates that police sent Howard’s case to the City Attorney’s Office two days after his arrest, along with a batch of other DUI cases.
“The City Attorney’s Office has no record of ever receiving it, but the Police Department has a record of taking it to the City Attorney’s Office,” said David Greenburg, the assistant city attorney overseeing the criminal division.
No charges were filed against Howard in that case. Greenburg declined to comment further because the office is conducting an internal investigation into the handling of that case.
The internal investigation also will look at the circumstances of a second DUI arrest of Howard in November 2007, less than three months after the first DUI arrest.
In the second case, the City Attorney’s Office filed charges against Howard but later asked for the case to be dismissed. Howard was never convicted. That arrest prompted Howard to sue the city and state last year, saying law enforcement officers manipulated witness statements to arrest and jail Howard.
Howard is a former staffer for Council President Ben Hueso and managed Stephen Whitburn’s City Council campaign last year. Howard has told voiceofsandiego.org that he plans to run next year to replace Hueso, who is running for state Assembly.
In this March 19 story, I detailed Howard’s second DUI arrest — the one where charges were filed but later dismissed — because Howard’s lawsuits contained records from the arrest.
It wasn’t until Friday that I received the police report from Howard’s first DUI arrest — the one where he was never charged — on Sept. 2, 2007.
The police report states that Howard’s BMW drove onto a blocked-off street just prior to a DUI checkpoint. The officer’s report states:
I drove to that location and saw the BMW driving toward me. The driver (Howard) stopped and quickly got out. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was going to park here and call a cab. I could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath and person. His eyes were also bloodshot. I had him perform the [Standardized Field Sobriety Tests], which he failed. I placed him under arrest and he was later taken to jail.
The police records indicate Howard tested with a blood alcohol content of 0.12. The legal limit is 0.08.
Howard has said he was not driving the car during the incident. From last month’s story:
Howard said police apparently received a call about the car, which he said was being driven by a friend while Howard was asleep in the car. By the time police approached them, Howard said the car was parked and the friend was no longer behind the wheel.
Howard said the police asked who owned the car, but not who was driving. Howard said his friend, who spoke limited English, didn’t volunteer the information. Howard said he invoked his Fifth Amendment right because he felt uncomfortable telling the police he wasn’t driving.
“I didn’t feel like they were going to believe anything we’d say,” Howard said.
Contacted for comment on Friday, Howard sent me the following e-mail:
Because this matter is being investigated by the City Attorney it would be prudent to let that process go forward without comment.