Candidate’s case to be reviewed, Grand Junction police chief says
Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper said a supervisory-level review of a traffic stop involving local resident David Cox will be completed, and he rejected suggestions that coercive tactics were used by the officer during the stop.
“There’s no indication of that,” Camper said Tuesday. “The officer was obviously concerned about being completely fair with Mr. Cox in terms of any potential DUI charge.”
Nonetheless, the handling of Saturday’s stop by officer Tom Rayside will be reviewed because of the incident’s “unusual nature and outcome,” Camper said.
Cox, one of three local Republicans seeking Colorado’s House District 54 seat, alleged Monday on his campaign blog that the officer threatened to charge him with prohibited use of a weapon if Cox refused consent to take a breath-alcohol test.
Cox, 28, claimed on his blog the officer cited his refusal to do the test when the officer wrote a summons for the misdemeanor charge and took custody of Cox’s handgun.
District Attorney Pete Hautzinger on Tuesday said the case will be dropped.
“Given the police officer’s determination that there was insufficient evidence Mr. Cox was under the influence of alcohol for purposes of any driving offense, the DA’s office sees no possibility of proving he was under the influence of alcohol for purposes of the weapons charge as well,” Hautzinger said in a prepared statement.
Hautzinger told The Daily Sentinel that a determination of charges in Cox’s case — a review of Cox’s summons was convened Tuesday among staff in the district attorney’s office — was expedited because of Cox’s status as a political candidate seeking elected office.
“We prioritized making a decision sooner rather than later,” he said.
Hautzinger, a Republican, said he doesn’t know Cox and couldn’t recall meeting him at any past local Republican Party functions.
Cox’s Dodge pickup was stopped by the officer just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 11th Street. Rayside wrote in the summons that the stop was initiated because a light on the front license plate of Cox’s vehicle wasn’t working.
The officer wrote in the summons that Cox’s truck bumped the curb as it was coming to a stop and that he later observed Cox had bloodshot, watery eyes and allegedly smelled of alcohol.
Rayside wrote in the summons that he observed Cox had a handgun in the truck’s glove box as Cox was attempting to retrieve paperwork for the officer.