A Friendswood police officer was arrested for DWI, but then convicted of a much lesser charge earlier this month.
A viewer tipped KHOU 11 News off to the case, worried that the officer was getting special treatment. But Brazoria County prosecutors say it comes down to a paperwork mistake.
Pearland Police confronted Friendswood Officer Fred Cramer when they saw his motorcycle lying in the road, last October. Cramer admitted he had come from a nearby bar, but refused a field sobriety test. Officers then got a warrant to draw his blood.
The results: a BAC of .264, three times the legal limit.
Despite that, Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne said, “I did not have the evidence to get to a DWI conviction.”
That’s mainly because of one mistake.
“The search warrant never authorized the taking of Mr. Cramer’s blood, in fact it authorized the taking of someone else’s blood,” Yenne said.
The arresting officer accidentally put down his own name instead of Cramer’s.
KHOU 11 News Reporter Alice Barr asked Yenne: “Some people are going to look at this and say, that they were trying to cut him a break.”
“Pearland is very assertive in crime prevention and Pearland has been criticized before for being too aggressive concerning other law enforcement agencies. No one gets treated any differently than anyone else,” said Yenne. “Do I believe this was an inadvertent error? Absolutely.”
So Yenne changed the charge to the easier-to-prove public intoxication and Cramer pleaded guilty to that in early June.
“His arrest needs to be forever public for DWI,” said Yenne. “There needs to be a disposition that he is a convicted public drunk, and then his employer can choose to do what the employer needs to do with that disposition.”
But Friendswood Police Chief Robert Wieners told KHOU 11 News they have to base disciplinary action on the evidence, too. So after their own internal review, Cramer was given a letter of reprimand in January, referred through substance abused counseling and put back on the streets.
KHOU 11 News asked Yenne if she thought the public was well-served by the outcome.
“I do because it’s important that ‘A,’ an officer, or other public servant be arrested when they commit a crime,” said Yenne. “And it’s important that his evidence be assessed, or her evidence, just like anyone else, it was.”
She added, “But sometimes you can’t change the facts.”
Pearland Police told KHOU 11 News simply, mistakes do happen and if they didn’t want a conviction, they never would have arrested Cramer.
Cramer chose not to talk to KHOU 11 News, but his attorney said he’s a former Marine who served two tours in Iraq and has been with Friendswood Police since 2007.
Is there not enough thugs out there? This makes me SICK! Why would a cop arrest another officer for this type of minor offense.. There are tons of drunks driving every where any given night. What happened to professional courtesy. I know it's only one Pearland officer, But it reflects bad on the entire dept. The Pearland officer should be fired, If he can't even complete a search warrant correctly he has no business being a cop. Thank God the Friendswood officer got arrested by a cop that has no business being in law enforcement..
Posted by Old School at 6/27/2014 8:10:25 AM
This is a ridiculous, obvious, intentional screw up designed to protect this moronic officer. Who cares what he did in Iraq. He does not get a pass for the crime just because he served. He is a danger to the public.
Jeri Yenne is obviously incompetent.
Posted by YouKnowWho at 6/27/2014 10:28:29 PM
As the arresting Pearland officer never observed the Friendswood officer operating the motorcycle it would have been impossible to obtain a DWI conviction anyway. The public intoxication charge was the best route to go.
Posted by BW at 6/29/2014 7:34:48 AM
People get DWI charges in cars all the time without the officer observing the operation of vehicle.
Posted by YouKnowWho at 6/29/2014 10:41:31 AM
Sitting in running car is by definition operating the vehicle, and is good enough for DWI.
You're right BW, no one saw Cramer driving, but a witness did stop who saw him leaving the bar and gave a witness statement. But let's not get caught up in facts.
Also, the arresting officer did not intentionally mess anything up. There's more than what meets the eye in this case, but some things are best left unsaid. Just know that the media is giving a one sided view in this one, along with every other story they partially report.