Deputy Found Passed Out Drunk in Patrol Car at Standing Rock, Heads to Trial

Deputy Ryan Fowler was found with his vehicle in drive and his foot stuck on the brake pedal after getting drunk on the job. He stands trial in March.

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Standing Rock
St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office deputy Ryan Fowler, shown in a 2015 photo. (RiverTown Multimedia file photo)

The St. Croix Wisconsin Sheriff’s Deputy who was found drunk and passed out behind the wheel of a patrol vehicle, while volunteering to assist the police at Standing Rock, has had a trial date set. Deputy Ryan Fowler was found with his vehicle in drive and his foot stuck on the brake pedal. He was believed to have had at least fifteen shots of vodka. He is now set to head to trial in March.

It’s a hard day’s work pelting peaceful protesters with rubber bullets and concussion grenades. But one deputy took relaxing after work a little too far. Ryan Fowler was one of hundreds of out of state officers who participated through their department to assist the oil corporations with their violation of Native American treaties in North Dakota. Additionally, understand that any out of state officer who responded to North Dakota was not ordered to do so. They volunteered and are being paid overtime rates for twenty-four hours a day, just for being there. Fowler believed that state laws don’t apply to him, and after his shift, proceeded to get drunk while sitting behind the wheel of his patrol car.

As it was a law enforcement-involved crime, very little information was released to the news. What we do know is that according to reports, he had consumed at least fifteen shots of vodka and was charged with having a blood alcohol level above .08. He was put on administrative leave (paid vacation) for several weeks before he and the St. Croix Sheriff made a deal. As usual, Fowler was allowed to resign to avoid termination. Fowler was in North Dakota with three other deputies from his agency, and is the agency’s K9 handler.

Sheriff John Shilts sent Fowler a letter of termination, however, he was allowed an “involuntary resignation,” which basically denies him the right to unemployment benefits while still being terminated. “The incident in Borth Dakota is such that it has caused and continues to cause this agency to have suffered a significant loss of public trust and support. Your behavior in this matter warrants disciplinary action. IN accordance with the policies of St. Croix County and the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office the appropriate discipline is discharge from employment.” According to Fowler, he shouldn’t have been arrested at all. He believed that the “whole situation should have been taken into account.”

The fact that Fowler headed to trial says that the District Attorney handling the case decided not to cut a deal or gloss over the facts of the case. Fowler was removed from the North Dakota detail immediately after the incident. He reportedly violated twelve Sheriff’s Office policies. He is set for trial March 3 in Burleigh County, North Dakota.

Sources: Twin Cities.


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