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Former cop: Officer with history of alcohol abuse got special treatment

Posted: 10:41 PM, Aug 31, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-31 23:32:44-04

He was a Brownstown Township cop for nearly 10 years. That was until he was told to look the other way.

"I don't care if people like me," he says.

He cares, he says, about exposing what he believes, in a police department that swept a fellow officer's wrongdoing under the rug.

Michael Patrick McCarthy a veteran Sergeant with the Brownstown Township Police Department, will go to trial in October. He's facing drunk driving charges in Las Vegas.

Last month the 7 Investigators exposed his run-in with the Nevada Highway Patrol. Witnesses claimed his SUV swerved across lanes and jumped a curb.

Officers say his eyes were watery, glassy, bloodshot and his speech heavily slurred. He reportedly admitted to downing six or seven beers.
    
When we tracked him down at his Brownstown apartment: "I got no comment," he said when answering the door.

But its his recent arrest that exposed a checkered past that appears to have gone unchecked for years.

Old court records, uncovered by the 7 Investigators, show in 2006 McCarthy was accused of being drunk in an interrogation.

Then later that same year, while off duty, he was pulled over by two fellow officers for driving erratically. One officer stated McCarthy almost killed him with his vehicle.

McCarthy later admitted drinking five to ten beers.

The two officers at the scene didn't conduct sobriety tests. Instead, a supervisor made the call to drive McCarthy home without incident.

It reeked of special treatment. It still does to one of those two officers.

"I'd have taken him to jail," the officer now says - had it been a regular citizen pulled over.

The former officer, who is speaking publicly for the first time, was employed with the department for nearly 10 years. He walked us through that night.

911 put out a bulletin.

"She was receiving several calls from motorists on southbound I-75, that there was a drunk driver all over the road and had almost struck several people," he says.

Another officer "got on the radio rather excitedly and said he had just about been struck by a vehicle going by him while he was on a traffic stop; He had to jump on the hood of his car to avoid being hit."

That vehicle, allegedly, McCarthy's.

McCarthy was stopped.

"I saw that it was McCarthy, alone in the vehicle, driving it. He just said, 'Hey J, its me'.

"I didn't say a word to him. I walked back to my car called my supervisor. I asked him if he wanted me to give him a breath test or a PBT or write a ticket, write a report. He said no... just clear the scene."

He says top brass promised to discipline McCarthy and referred him to alcohol treatment, which court documents say McCarthy refused.

The two officers at the scene that night, demanded charges. Township leaders sent the case to MSP for investigation, but a lack of evidence and time passing led it nowhere.

Township attorneys recommended McCarthy be allowed to continue carrying a badge and weapon for nearly a decade.
    
Last month we attempted to speak to the law firm that represents the township. They refused comment. As did the director of public safety. We gave him another opportunity to speak with us just this week. We never heard back.

As for our whistleblower, he says he was forced to resign just months after raising concerns about the handling of the McCarthy situation. After 15 years in law enforcement, he was effectively finished.

He is hoping this most recent arrest does not allow McCarthy to skirt responsibility.     
    
"He is certainly... unbecoming of an officer. McCarthy's not the problem. The problem is the people supervising him and supposed to be doing something about it. Why didn't the city council say, 'Chief you dropped the ball on this, you're outta here'."

Our attempts at accountability have been met with resistance.

The supervisor of Brownstown Township - the only public official to return our calls - says McCarthy is on medical leave, and, due to a workers comp claim, they cannot comment on his employment and will wait until his case is closed before making a decision on his future.

The supervisor admitted however, he and many on the current town board were not aware of McCarthy's past. Just this most recent incident.

Why he has been allowed to remain on the force for a decade after that 2006 episode remains unanswered.