Special Treatment of (former) Griz Player Trumaine Johnson?

by jhwygirl

Was anyone surprised to hear that former Griz football player Trumaine Johnson was arrested on a DUI last night? Probably not. The fact that he’s a NFL cornerback for the St. Louis Rams is whatt made it just a little out of the ordinary.

Only a little.

Reading the Missoulian report, it seems that Trumaine Johnson refused the breathalyzer.

Well now, I thought, “doesn’t he realize we get warrants now in this state when people do that?

But as I read through the Missoulian’s report, it appears the City of Missoula Police merely cited former Griz player Trumaine Johnson for refusing the breath test, along with another citation for driving without headlights and the DUI charge.

Awww, isn’t that nice?

So Johnson will get off with some minor traffic tickets. No evidence for the DUI will make that a tough conviction.

I’m sure it was jet lag.

He was caught at Front and Owen. Which is St. Patrick’s Hospital property, and about 3 blocks from the Emergency Room entrance where blood tests are, I suspect, pretty easy to obtain.

Not only is Johnson getting special treatment from the City of Missoula PD, it looks like the NFL has already decided his fate – they’re gonna hit him up with a little dent in his beer money.

Real leadership failure all the way around. You wonder why we have situations like we have here and in Steubenville and scores of other communities? It’s a systemic failure.

One of those “it takes a village” moments.

  1. This is easy enough to understand.

    Normally, being black is enough to override any other factor in constituting probable cause for an arrest.

    This is a special case, however.

    Law enforcement in Missoula is compelled by long standing tradition to assess other factors.

    On the scales of justice, which weighs more? A fifth of booze, a six pack of brew, or a football?

    Right, appearances notwithstanding, the pigskin tips the scales toward mercy, mitigating the consequences.

  2. jack ruby

    So they did give him a DUI and cited him for refusal to blow but you still think it was special treatment bc they didn’t take the extra step of wasting public resources to get a warrant draw his blood against his will? You know this is the same guy the Missoula cops tased and arrested not too long ago… I think if they were interested in giving him special treatment letting him off with a warning a ride home would have been in order. In my younger foolish days in Missoula that was the ‘special treatment’ I got from the cops in the same situation and I certainly didn’t play for the griz. Sounds like some axe grinding going on here.

    • This isn’t the seventies. Cops aren’t taxi services. 44% of all alcohol-related traffic accidents here in Montana are fatalities, and we rank #3 in deaths-per-capita.

      Of those alcohol-related deaths, I wonder how many weren’t the driver.

      The only ax I”m grinding is the fact that someone was caught driving a deadly weapon around and the City PD’s attitude towards that was to ensure Trumaine would get a slap on the wrist.

    • jack ruby

      I agree drinking and driving is a big problem and won’t make excuses for my own behavior. The time I referred to of my own ‘special treatment’ was not the 1970s but closer to y2k. Imjust saying in my opinion I don’t think there is anyway this particular incident is special treatment bc he was a football player.

  3. Pogo Possum

    Let’s clarify a lot of inaccurate information that has been posted here that is the result, in part, to some poor media reporting.

    First, Johnson did take a breath test. Second, assuming this is Johnson’s first DUI charge, the police could not legally obtain a court ordered blood test. Third, he was not given any special treatment. His DUI was handled professionally and without prejudice by the arresting officer with no special treatment given.

    The official police complaint states Johnson refused to provide “a proper breath sample” not that he refused to take the breath test. KPAX has a copy of the Complaint though even they didn’t bother to read the details of the arrest.

    There are many ways a willing participant can fail to provide a proper breath sample including blowing too softly, blowing too forcefully, not blowing long enough, not blowing in a constant sustained manner, etc. I have seen people who were earnestly trying to complete the breath test fail to provide a proper sample because they were too stressed out or agitated by the process to provide a constant breath long enough for the device to get a proper measure. Other reasons include “intentionally” not blowing properly to even sticking ones tongue in the blow tube or simply being too drunk to blow which is common and possible in Johnson’s case. In most states, a person who is either unable or unwilling to provide a proper breath sample (unless that person is unconscious or deemed to be in a condition rendering them incapable of refusing the test), can be charged with failure to provide a proper breath sample which can result in the same penalty as refusing the breath test. Johnson was charged with refusing to take a breath test because he did not/could not provide a “proper breath sample” not because he didn’t take a breath test.

    The most misunderstood fact about Montana’s new DUI blood test law is that it only applies to people who already have a prior DUI conviction or a prior refusal to blow, or a pending DUI case. Simply put, without mitigating circumstances, if it is a person’s first DUI offense the police cannot get a court order for a blood test. This appears to be the case with Trumain Johnson.

    Here is the applicable section of the Montana Code: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/61/8/61-8-402.htm

    “…..(5) If the arrested person has refused to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample under 61-8-409 or this section in a prior investigation in this state or under a substantially similar statute in another jurisdiction or the arrested person has a prior conviction or pending offense for a violation of 45-5-104, 45-5-106, 45-5-205, 61-8-401, or 61-8-406 or a similar statute in another jurisdiction, the officer may apply for a search warrant to be issued pursuant to 46-5-224 to collect a sample of the person’s blood for testing…..”

    So again, unless there are more facts to be revealed, it does not appear that Johnson was given any special treatment and the police handled his DUI arrest professionally and without prejudice with no special treatment given.

    For all those inaccurately gnashing their teeth over Johnson’s supposed special DUI treatment, I refer you back to Lizard’s earlier post discussing people getting distracted over banning big gulps. If Johnson wasn’t a football player, you wouldn’t be commenting or gnashing your teeth over this DUI case.

  4. James

    I hope for Missoula’s law enforcement’s sake they didn’t use any racial slurs against him like they did last time.

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