Watch CBS News

Court Documents: Sacramento Police Officer Drunk While Armed In Patrol Vehicle

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - In his squad car and intoxicated.

New court documents show a Sacramento police officer was allegedly drunk and armed when Rancho Cordova police stopped to talk to him.

And the allegations are only now public because of a wrongful death lawsuit in which the officer is also named.

This new information comes straight from Sacramento's own city attorney, but it's tucked into a motion in the wrongful death lawsuit, two years after it happened.

The Sacramento Police Department never mentioned the alleged drunken encounter when it happened. And now it's part of the lawsuit in a police deadly shooting case.

Sacramento Police body camera video shows the September 6, 2018, deadly shooting of Darell Richards. The officers who fired the deadly shots were found by the district attorney to have used reasonable force.

The Richards family filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging he was in a mental health crisis at the time of the shooting, suing the city and two officers who fired their weapons, including Officer Patrick Cox.

Now inside the lawsuit, there is a motion showing the day before the one-year anniversary of the deadly shooting Officer Cox was contacted by members of the Rancho Cordova Police Department while stopped in a Sacramento Police Department vehicle. It was determined that Mr. Cox was legally intoxicated and had Sacramento Police Department-issued weapons in the vehicle.

Attorney Mark Reichel says the revelation two years later that Cox was caught allegedly drunk in his police vehicle by fellow officers, and it was not released publicly shows a lack of law enforcement transparency.

"This is a really big significant matter," Reichel said. "This really egregious conduct took place under our noses and no one talked about it. In fact, we're just finding out about it inadvertently by the digging of the media."

The Sacramento Police Department confirms no press release was sent out about Cox getting caught allegedly drunk when it happened. They confirmed he is no longer an employee with the department and declined further comment, citing the pending litigation.

Attorneys for Darell Richards' family want Cox's alleged drunk conduct in his patrol car included in their case. They are asking a judge to unseal the confidential discipline he received.

Reichel says the timing of the intoxication -- a year after the deadly shooting -- will be something attorneys ask about when he takes the stand.

"'Tell us, is it because you felt guilt, remorse, you thought you did the wrong thing,'" Reichel said. "I think that's where they're going to go with this, and that is really going to be the gotcha moment that's gonna be the high drama in that courtroom in the Eastern District."

CBS13 could find no record that Officer Cox was ever arrested or charged for DUI in his patrol vehicle.

The wrongful death case is scheduled for trial in the summer of 2022.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.