Tag Archives: professional courtesy

Update: Lt. Brian Filipiak, “Superdrunk” Michigan Cop Who Insisted on Being “Just Let Go,” Let Off With Probation

Video Arrest Super Drunk Michigan Cop Lt. Brian Filipiak

Lt. Brian Filipiak of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office became a bit of a YouTube star after a video surfaced of him being stopped for driving drunk in November and insisting that the Montmorency County deputies “just let him go.” Instead of being hauled out of the car and beaten then handcuffed and shoved into the back of a patrol car, Filipiak was allowed to spend over thirty minutes making his meandering, slurred argument that they should make a “Brotha’s deal” and look the other way while he either continues on or sleeps it off on the side of the road.

Even after he is finally convinced to come out of the truck by the threat of being tazed, Lt. Filipiak is argumentative and even physically resistant once they finally try to put him into the back of a patrol car. He, of course, wasn’t charged with resisting or even obstruction, as any mere mortal without a Magic Uniform would be. And early last month when he went to court for the first time, he was given the customary plea deal for a dramatically reduced charge that cops facing trial should (and obviously do) readily expect.

However, there’s no way the courts would give a minor slap on the wrist to a high ranking cop who was caught on a viral video telling other cops to just let him go and stating matter of factly that he and the other officers in his department would do just that if they stopped another police officer driving drunk. Especially if that cop was not just drunk, but “super drunk” and had a long history of well documented drunken incidents even before this one. There’s obviously no way they would gloss this over and “just let him go,” if for no other reason than for the sake of appearances. This is the one guy they’d have to make an example of, for sure.

Or maybe they would not only just give him a short probation sentence, but also even keep him on the department payroll.

Via MLive.com:

A former Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant was sentenced Friday, March 3, to one year of probation and 40 hours of community service for drunken driving.

A northern Michigan judge also gave Brian Filipiak a 93-day deferred jail sentence, which means he will only serve the time if he violates probation…

Filipiak was arrested in Rust Township with a blood-alcohol level of 0.28 – more than three times the legal limit. A deputy’s body camera footage showed Filipiak trying to talk his way out of the arrest based on his position as a lieutenant in Washtenaw County.

The incident took place for more than half an hour before authorities got the clearly inebriated Filipiak out of his truck and into the back of a patrol car…

Filipiak was initially charged with misdemeanor operating while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of 0.17 or more – commonly referred to as the “super drunk” law. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of operating while intoxicated on Jan. 27, according to court records…

Filipiak has lost the title and pay of a lieutenant, but remains employed at the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office. He no longer is a sworn officer, the department said.

He was placed on unpaid administrative leave during the internal investigation and is now employed on a conditional basis working in a support capacity at reduced pay, officials said.

As a lieutenant, he was being paid in the ballpark of $79,000, but is now receiving deputy wages, officials said, which range from around $42,000 and $63,000, according to the county’s salary report.

Lt. Filipiak feels really bad though, much worse than the time he had to be ordered to leave his own house during a drunken domestic dispute with his wife or the time he admitted to driving while drunk to the airport to pick up his daughter and then insisted he was going to drive home when confronted by Wayne County police officers. And he even stated that those cops who insisted on arresting him had done some mighty fine police work that day. Plus, unlike every other person who has ever been arrested, including all the ones he has arrested himself during his 21 year career for driving drunk, this has destroyed Lt. Filipiak’s life. (The guy’s lost at least $15,000 a year from his measly $79,000 salary for God’s sake.)

And he’ll have a lot of time (40 whole hours) to think about it as he’s performing the community service that is pretty much the only tangible punishment he was given for his Super Drunk Country Drive.

Shortened Version Of the DUI Arrest Video

Previous Alcohol Involved Domestic Disturbance Call

Full Body Cam Video of DUI Arrest

Drunken Airport Incident

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Update: “Superdrunk” Michigan Cop Lt. Brian Filipiak Pleads Guilty to a Lesser Charge

Last month, I posted on the CopBlock Network about Lt. Brian Filipiak, the cop from Michigan’s Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office whose super power was engaging in drunken incidents without suffering any sort of ramifications, legally or professionally. (Videos embedded below.)

As I detailed in that post, Filipiak had managed to be involved in at least two major incidents in which police from other departments had to intercede without any sort of negative impact on his ascent to a leadership role within the WCSO. That included one where he drove drunk to an airport to pick up his daughter, who refused to go with him, and then refused to identify himself to officers that responded to the disturbance.  He also possibly drove home drunk after verbally refusing to heed the advice of those officers to get alternative transportation and then walking away in the direction of the airport’s parking garage.

Unfortunately for Lt. Filipiak, his kryptonite, like many cops, turned out to be cameras. In a video that was widely seen on the internets, Filipiak was (eventually) arrested for DUI by deputies from the Montmorency County Sheriff’s Office after numerous drivers called 911 to report him driving like a drunk asshole. He was, of course, still in the process of drinking from a bottle of booze he tried to hide in the backseat when stopped.

Not surprisingly, he tried to use the fact he was a cop to avoid the arrest continually imploring the deputies to “just let me go.” He also physically resisted to the point that the (unnamed) arresting officer had to threaten to use a taser on him to get him out of his truck. Even then, he refused to perform a field sobriety test and initially refused to consent to a breathalyzer.

Although, it wasn’t enough to make another cop who knew he was being recorded on a bodycam “just let him go,” his Super-Drunk Cop powers weren’t completely negated. Besides the aforementioned portion of the show in which he physically resisted for about fifteen minutes and was only threatened with a tasing, he also physically resisted efforts to put him in the police car after his arrest, but was not actually beaten, tased, dragged out of his truck, and possibly shot for that resistance, like any mere mortal would be . The arresting officer even states at one point that “anyone else” would have gotten a resisting arrest charge for refusing to get in the vehicle.

On Friday, Lt. Filipiak accepted a plea bargain for lesser charge and pled guilty to driving drunk. Via MLive.com:

A lieutenant from the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office has pleaded guilty to operating while intoxicated in connection with a drunken-driving arrest in northern Michigan.

Lt. Brian Filipiak, 47, was charged with misdemeanor operating while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of 0.17 or more for an incident on Nov. 13, 2016, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge on Friday, Jan. 27, according to Montmorency County’s 88-2 District Court office.

Filipiak was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.28 and 0.27 percent – more than three times the legal limit for driving – during breath tests after his November arrest, a police report showed.

Body camera footage of the arrest showed Filipiak resisted arrest that day and his arresting officer stated in his report that “Brian would try and use that he is a Lieutenant for the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office to try and persuade me by letting him go (sic).”

Michigan’s legal limit for blood-alcohol content while driving is 0.08 percent, and stiffer penalties are in place for those with a blood-alcohol level of 0.17 or more under the state’s so-called “super drunk” driving law.

He potentially could receive 93 days in jail as a result, but don’t hold your breath on that. As of right now though, it’s not yet known when he will return to court so he can be sentenced to a short probation term and a fine or exactly when he will be back out there arresting people (but not other cops) for DUI.

Shortened Version Of the DUI Arrest Video

Previous Alcohol Involved Domestic Disturbance Call

Full Body Cam Video of DUI Arrest

“Superdrunk” Michigan Cop In That Viral DUI Video Already Had A Long History of Alcohol Related Incidents

By now, everyone on the internets has obviously seen the infamous viral video of Lt. Brian Filipiak from the Washtenaw County (MI) Sheriff’s Office being stopped for driving drunk. (If you somehow haven’t, the shortened video that was initially released is embedded below, along with the full, unedited 24 minute video)

Throughout that video, Lt. Filipiak acts indignant that another police officer would actually enforce the law against a cop. Numerous times he tells the Montmorency County Sheriff’s deputies that stopped him to “just let me go.” Filipiak even states at one point, when questioned about how he would handle such a situation in his own county, that he would in fact let another cop go if he caught them driving drunk.

The sense of entitlement and protection he expects to receive from a fellow cop is rather obvious from the start of the video when he purposely flashes his badge as he opens his wallet to retrieve his ID. Unfortunately for him, that little “secret handshake” didn’t work this time. Not surprisingly though, it turns out that there is a reason he had such expectations. Lt Filipiak actually has a history of alcohol involved incidents, going back to at least 2013.

There is a record of law enforcement officers responding to his drunken escapades on at least two occasions, including one in which he was argumentative and, at least initially, refused to follow officers’ orders not to drive while drunk. In spite of that, not only was Filipiak apparently not disciplined in any way, but obviously he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, which brings with it a leadership role within the WCSO.

Below are the descriptions of those two incidents, including excerpts from the police reports officers involved filed regarding them. (Courtesy of WashtenawWatchdogs.com.) In addition, video of the drunken domestic dispute call involving Filipiak’s wife (mostly audio) is embedded below.

July 2013 Drunken Airport Incident (emphasis added):

On July 21, 2013, Sheriff Department’s Lieutenant Brian Filipiak drove to the Wayne County Airport to pick up his daughter but was so drunk and belligerent that his daughter refused to get into the car with him and hid in a back room of the United Airlines baggage claim office. The United Airlines employees called the Wayne Metro Airport Police to assist [1] .

  • On 7/21/13 at approximately 0030 hours, I was dispatched to the United Airlines baqqaqe service office in the North Terminal to assist a female juvenile [daughter] who was afraid to go with her father (reported by Connie Boudourakis from United). Upon arrival, I located [daughter] in the back room of the United office. She was crying and was visibly shaken. [daughter] explained that she had just flown back from her mother’s house out of state and was supposed to get a ride home with her father (B. Filipiak). [daughter] stated that when she met her father in baggage claim, he was acting strangely and appeared intoxicated. She stated that she was afraid to go home with him and was on the phone with her stepmother to arrange a ride home. She stepped out of the back office briefly and pointed out her father standing on the opposite side of luggage claim near carousel 5.

Lieutenant Filipiak was drunk and uncooperative with the responding police officer. He refused to provide ID and stated “You won’t arrest me” and “You don’t know who I am, do you.”

  • I made contact with the father (B. Filipiak) near carousel 5. I explained the reason for speaking with him and that his daughter was concerned about going home with him. It became immediately apparent that B. Filipiak was intoxicated. There was an odor of intoxicants coming from his breath and his eyes appeared red and glossy. I asked how he got to the airport and he stated that he drove. I advised B. Filipiak to make some phone calls to arrange to have he and his daughter picked up. I requested his ID and he repeatedly refused to provide it. I explained that he was required to provide ID at my request or face arrest. B. Filipiak stated, “You won’t arrest me,” and “You don’t know who I am, do you?” At this time, I requested another officer to my location. Cpl. Kuty and Lt. Tavtigian arrived to assist. Cpl. Kuty and I again explained that he needed to provide ID and he finally complied. B. Filipiak handed me his Michigan operator’s license and a [Washtenaw County] Sheriff’s Office ID. I directed him to use his phone to try to acquire transportation to his home. At this time, I turned control of the scene over to Lt. Tavtigian.
  • I was advised B Filipiak admitted to having identification on him; however he was refused to provide any identification to Ofc Zahina for his investigation. Eventually, B Filipiak provided Ofc Zahina with his Michigan driver license and his Sheriffs Identification card. I asked B Filipiak for the name of his commanding officer and their telephone number. He stated he was not going to give it me. I repeated my question and he ignored me. I conducted a pat-down search for weapons with negative results. I could smell the odor of intoxicants from his person. I asked him if he has been drinking, he stated yes. I asked him how much, he stated a few beers. Also, he admitted of driving to the airport and he parked his vehicle in the blue deck. Ofc Zahina instructed him to call somebody to drive him home because he will not be allowed to drive home in his current condition.

Lt. Filipiak’s daughter called her stepmother and arranged for her to come to the airport and pick her up but she refused to pick up her husband.

  • Ofc Zahina advised me that his daughter told him that she was afraid of him and he had been drinking. She wanted nothing to do with her father, B Filipiak. No threats of harm and/or acts of assaults had occurred to her. He then spoke with B Filipiak’s wife [Jamie Sue Filipiak] on the telephone. She stated to him that she was coming to the airport to pick up [daughter]  however she wanted nothing to do with him. Ofc Kuty and I stood by with B Filipiak while Ofc Zahina united [daughter] with her step-mother.

Lt. Filipiak was still uncooperative with regard to arranging for a ride home from the airport.

  • While we were waiting, I told B. Filipiak multiple times to call somebody to drive him home. Ofc Zahina returned and advised B Filipiak that his daughter was picked up by his wife and they have left the airport. He was free to leave, however he could not drive his car or he will be arrested. I asked B. Filipiak if he had a credit card for a taxi or if there is somebody we could contact for him. He stated he did have a credit card on him and told me not to worry about it. I spoke with Lt Walls and advised him of the situation. I told B. Filipiak that he needed to get a ride home, however he refused any cooperation and assistance from me and walked away towards the parking deck. I conducted a search of the parking deck with negative results.

Officer Zahina briefly parked his patrol vehicle outside the parking structure to discourage Lt. Filipiak from driving home.

November 2013 Drunken Domestic Dispute (Video embedded below)

In another incident that occurred on November 1, 2013, the Pinckney Police were called to Brian Filipiak’s home for a civil dispute with his wife. According to Lt. Filipiak’s statement [2] ;

  • Upon arrival R/O [Watson] met with [Brian] Filipiak who advised that he and his wife [Jamie Sue Filipiak] were having marital problems and had been arguing. [Brain Filipiak] stated that the incident was verbal only and he is not sure why [Jamie Sue] called 911. [Brian] stated that he had been drinking and just wanted to go to bed.

According to his wife’s statement;

  • RIO [Watson] met with [Jamie Sue] Filipiak who advised that [Brian Filipiak] has a drinking problem and had been drinking before he arrived home. [Jamie Sue] further stated that they got into an argument but the incident had not gotten physical and she did not believe that it would.

The couple agreed to separate for the night and no further disturbance was reported to police. 

Original arrest story via ClickOnDetroit.com:

Washtenaw County Lt. Brian Filipak (sic) is on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues.

Video shows Filipak repeatedly asking to just be let go, but the Montmorency deputies weren’t having it (surprising usually they follow the rules of the thin blue line) and at one point, told him they would use a stun gun on him if he didn’t knock it off. The fact that they would use a taser on him when he wasn’t fighting but rather arguing shows how aggressive cops can be.

“Brian, I’m going to have you step out of the car and do some field sobriety tests,” an officer said.

Filipak was pulled over after deputies said they saw his car weave all over the road.

“Just let me stay here,” Filipak said.

He pleaded with the deputies to let him sleep it off on the side of the road, repeatedly refusing to budge from his truck.

The deputy told him he had to get out of the truck now, but Filipak continued to refuse the orders and forced the deputies to pull him from his pickup truck.

Note: This post contains content that was shared with the CopBlock Network by a reader who goes by the pseudonym “The Poor & Unknown.” It was shared via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. Below are the  personal comments included with the submission:

Criminal police at it again, Video captured two Montmorency County sheriff’s deputies dealing with a Washtenaw County lieutenant who is accused of drunken driving. Not just drunk driving but SUPERDRUNK Driving.

When are people going to realize just how useless, abusive and corrupt cops are? They never follow the same rules handed down to the average person and then they beat those who don’t comply with their unjust demands. Wake up people, call the Sherriff’s office and express how you feel about the super drunk jackass Lt. Brian Filipak.

– The Poor & Unknown

Shortened Version Of the DUI Arrest Video

Previous Alcohol Involved Domestic Disturbance Call

Full Body Cam Video of DUI Arrest

Police Wife Writes About the “Secret Epidemic” of Police Domestic Violence

This post was originally published at the “Ms. Magazine” blog in October of 2015 by and (who was married to a police officer for 20 years) under the original title “Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence.” (See below for their full biographies.)

Domestic violence takes place in up to a staggering 40 percent of law enforcement families, but police departments mostly ignore the problem or let it slide, write ex-police wife Susanna Hope and award-winning investigative journalist Alex Roslin in their new book, Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence. The following excerpt is adapted from their book, available on Amazon or as an eBook from their website, and is being published as part of the Ms. Blog’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month series.

According to Alex Roslin, “Police Wife” itself has more than 60 pages of appendices giving advice and resources to survivors, family and friends plus recommendations for advocates, police, governments, journalists and researchers.

In order to help survivors and others, they’ve made virtually all of the appendices available for free through their website. Here is the direct link to this extended free excerpt.

The propensity for police to abuse their wives, children, and other family members is, of course, no secret among people who read CopBlock.org. It’s rare that more than a few days go by without a report of a cop having committed domestic violence and several CopBlock Network Contributors have posted about the increased risk that entails marrying or having the bad fortune to be the child of a cop. Obviously, the habitual efforts of Good Cops to cover up the crimes of those Bad Apples, is also a large factor in its commonality.

Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence

In 2009, in Utica, New York, police Investigator Joseph Longo Jr. killed his estranged wife, Kristin Palumbo-Longo, stabbing her more than a dozen times in their home, then stabbed himself to death. One of the couple’s four children discovered the horrifying scene on coming home from school that afternoon.

Police Officer Cop BlockUtica’s then-Police Chief Daniel LaBella said the killing was completely unexpected—an incident “no one could have prevented or predicted.” But Kristin’s family filed a $100-million wrongful-death suit saying city and police officials didn’t do enough about Longo’s troubling behavior before the tragedy.

Kristin had contacted police at least five times in the weeks before she was murdered, saying she feared her husband might kill her and their kids, but police supervisors discouraged her from making reports or seeking a protection order, the lawsuit said. In a preliminary ruling, a federal judge agreed that the police actions may have “enhanced the danger to Kristin and amounted to deliberate indifference.” The city settled the suit in 2013, paying the couple’s children $2 million.

The murder wasn’t an isolated tragedy. It was unusual only because it was so public and so bloody. A staggering amount of domestic violence rages behind the walls of cops’ homes, while most police departments do little about it. In the vast majority of cases, cops who hurt a family member do so in utter secrecy, while their victims live in desperate isolation with very little hope of help. Research shows:

  • An astonishing 40 percent of cops acknowledged in one U.S. survey that they were violent with their spouse or children in the previous six months.
  • A second survey had remarkably similar results—40 percent of officers admitted there was violence in their relationship in the previous year. The abuse rate for cops is up to 15 times higher than among the public.
  • Police discipline is startlingly lax. The LAPD disciplines cops with a sustained domestic violence complaint less strictly than those who lie or get in an off-duty fight. In the Puerto Rico Police Department, 86 percent of cops remained on active duty even after two or more arrests for domestic violence.

It seems incredible that a crime wave of such magnitude and far-reaching social ramifications could be so unknown to the public and yet at the same time an open secret in a mostly indifferent law enforcement community. It is surely one of the most surreal crime epidemics ever—at once disavowed, generalized and virtually unchecked.

Aptly summing up the bizarre disconnect, retired Lieutenant Detective Mark Wynn of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department in Tennessee told PBS in a 2013 story on the issue: “What’s amazing to me is we’re having this conversation at all. I mean, could you imagine us sitting here talking about this and saying, how do you feel about officers using crack before they go to work, or how do you feel about the officer who every once in a while just robs a bank, or every once in a while decides to go in and steal a car from a dealership? We wouldn’t have this conversation. Why is it that we’ve taken violence against women and separated that from other crimes?”

Domestic violence is bad enough for any woman to deal with. Shelters, many of them chronically underfunded, regularly turn away abused women because they’re full, while only about one in four incidents in the wider population ever get reported to police. Hundreds of U.S. communities have adopted “nuisance property” laws that encourage police to pressure landlords to evict tenants who repeatedly call 911 over domestic abuse, further dissuading victims from seeking help.

But abuse at home is far worse for the wife or girlfriend of a cop. Who will she call—911? What if a coworker or friend of her husband responds? Police officers are trained in the use of physical force and know how to hurt someone without leaving a trace. They have guns and often bring them home. And if a cop’s wife runs, where will she hide? He usually knows where the women’s shelters are. Some shelter staff admit they are powerless to protect an abused police spouse. Her abuser may have training and tools to track her web use, phone calls and travels to find out if she is researching how to get help or, if she has fled, where she went.

In the rare case where the woman works up the nerve to complain, the police department and justice system often victimize her again. She must take on the infamous blue wall of silence—the strict unwritten code of cops protecting each other in investigations. The police have a name for it—extending “professional courtesy.” In the words of Anthony Bouza, a one-time commander in the New York Police Department and former police chief of Minneapolis, “The Mafia never enforced its code of blood-sworn omerta with the ferocity, efficacy and enthusiasm the police bring to the Blue Code of Silence.”

It all adds up to the police having a de facto licence to abuse their spouses and children. And it’s a worldwide phenomenon that police families struggle with everywhere from Montreal to Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, the U.K., Australia and South Africa.

The torrent of abuse is virtually unknown to the public, but without realizing it, we all pay a steep price. Domestic violence is the single most common reason the public contacts the police in the U.S., accounting for up to 50 percent of all calls in some areas. Yet, a battered woman who calls 911 may have a two-in-five chance of an abuser coming to her door. Official investigations have found law enforcement departments that tolerate abuse in police homes also mishandle violence against women in other homes.

Abusive cops are also more prone to other forms of misconduct on the job—such as brutality against civilians and violence against fellow officers. We all pay as taxpayers when governments have to settle multi-million-dollar lawsuits with victims of police abuse or negligence. Police domestic violence also has close connections to a host of other problems—police killings of African Americans, sexual harassment of female drivers at traffic stops and women cops, and even more broadly, issues like growing social inequality and subjugation of Native Americans.

And police officers themselves are victims, too. Even though our society calls cops heroes, we give them little support to cope with the pressure of police work. A big part of the job is to wield power to control other people. As a result, policing attracts people who are good at controlling others or may have a craving for that kind of power—and then trains them to use their power better. Control is also the main driver of domestic violence. Is it a surprise then that so many cops are violent at home?

Support the Ms. Magazine Prison and Domestic Violence Shelter Program today and show women fleeing domestic violence that they’re not alone.

Susanna Hope (a pseudonym for security and privacy reasons) is a Canadian professional writer who was married for over 20 years to a police officer. She has two sons and two grandchildren.

Alex Roslin is an award-winning Canadian journalist who was president of the board of the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting. His investigative and writing awards include three Canadian Association of Journalists prizes for investigative reporting, a gold prize in the National Magazine Awards and nine nominations for CAJ awards and NMAs.