Grand jury raises concern over Metro police DUI arrests - WSMV Channel 4

Grand jury raises concern over Metro police DUI arrests

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Officer Harold Taylor Officer Harold Taylor
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Drunk driving is a crime and a danger to everyone on the road, but now enforcement of those laws is being challenged.

A Davidson County grand jury has some harsh words for how drunk drivers are arrested in Nashville, and they called out a particular officer by name over his procedures and methods.

It's unusual for a grand jury to make these kinds of comments. They are published in the official report of their summer session.

The officer is one that the department defends as a 20-year veteran, saying no grand jury has ever questioned his procedures.

The officer singled out in the grand jury report holds the record for the most DUI arrests in Tennessee, with 395 in one year.

Officer Harold Taylor has even been honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"He is DUI for Nashville. He is their poster boy," Eugene Grayer said.

Grayer was the grand jury foreman. Taylor gave them an orientation on DUI arrests, and Taylor also prosecuted several dozen DUI cases before them.

The grand jury "had concerns about Officer Taylor's methods and procedures," and Taylor "lacked quality for determining probable cause," according to the report.

The grand jury was dismayed that Taylor would allegedly pull people over for a minor traffic offense, like a taillight out, but wouldn't charge him with that, only the DUI.

"We felt they should have gotten the ticket," Grayer said. "If you're going by the letter of the law, all charges should be brought against them."

Channel 4 asked Metro Police for an interview - they declined - but spokesman Don Aaron said "never before have Officer Taylor's practices been challenged."

Aaron says it's common for officers not to charge a DUI suspect with a minor traffic offense, because if that traffic offense is dismissed, the probable cause for the arrest could be lost.

"If you don't charge him with that, just so you don't have a weak case, I think that's faulty," Grayer said.

Another concern of the grand jury is how many times a drunk driving suspect is allowed to blow into a breathalyzer machine. Suspects are supposed to get three tries, but Grayer says Taylor presented a number of cases where he only gave them one before charging them with violating the implied consent law. In court, that means they refused the test.

The grand jury speculated Taylor wanted to hurry on to the next arrest, to keep his numbers up.

The police department seemed surprised about the complaints about Taylor. The grand jury never raised any red flags to the DA's office or reported anything to the police department's internal affairs division.

To read the grand jury's report, click here.

Jury foreman's son accused of DUI

Channel 4 has learned that Grayer's son has had experience with that same Metro DUI task force.

Eugene Grayer II has a pending charge for second offense DUI after he was arrested by a Metro DUI officer in 2009.

Eugene Grayer told Channel 4 he didn't know about his son's DUI.

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