Monroe County DA Apologizes for Berating Officer During Traffic Stop

Monroe County DA Sandra Doorley apologizes after body cam footage shows her berating a police officer during a traffic stop, raising questions about her professionalism and ability to uphold the law.

Bijay Laxmi
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Monroe County DA Apologizes for Berating Officer During Traffic Stop

Monroe County DA Apologizes for Berating Officer During Traffic Stop

Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley has issued a public apology after body camera footage showed her arguing with a Webster Police officer during a traffic stop on April 22, 2023. The incident occurred when Doorley was pulled over for speeding but refused to stop, instead driving to her home while the officer followed with lights and sirens activated.

In the video, Doorley can be seen scolding the officer, claiming she was "not dealing with you right now" and suggesting he should have known she was the district attorney. She also called the Webster Police Chief in an apparent attempt to intervene on her behalf. Doorley eventually accepted the speeding ticket after a 26-minute exchange with the officer.

Following the release of the body camera footage, which went viral online, Doorley faced widespread criticism and calls for her resignation from local officials and activist groups. Governor Kathy Hochul referred the case to the New York State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct for review, stating that Doorley's actions were "in contravention of her responsibility as a District Attorney and undermined her ability to hold others accountable for violating the law."

Why this matters: As the county's top prosecutor, Doorley is responsible for upholding the law and ensuring justice is served fairly. Her conduct during the traffic stop raises questions about her professionalism and ability to hold others accountable when she herself violated traffic laws and reprimanded an officer for doing his job.

In her apology video, Doorley acknowledged her wrongdoing and took full responsibility for her actions. "I want to apologize to the Webster Police officer involved in this incident," she said. "He was doing his job and I did not treat him with the respect he deserves. No one is above the law, including the district attorney, and my conduct was wrong."

Doorley explained that she had been dealing with significant stress at the time of the incident, citing her involvement in prosecuting three recent homicides, including a disturbing case where a cab driver was executed, as well as a medical concern for her husband. However, she emphasized that this was no excuse for her behavior towards the officer.

As a result of the incident, Doorley announced several disciplinary actions against herself. She pleaded guilty to the speeding violation and agreed to pay the fine, refer the case to a different district attorney's office for an independent review, self-report to the attorney grievance committee, and undergo ethics training. "If it was one of my assistant district attorneys, I would discipline them," Doorley stated. "I am disciplining myself."

The Monroe County District Attorney's office handles thousands of cases each year, including high-profile criminal prosecutions. Doorley, who has served as DA since 2012, now faces scrutiny over her conduct and the potential impact on her ability to effectively lead the office. The New York State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct has the power to investigate allegations of misconduct against prosecutors and recommend disciplinary action, up to and including removal from office.

Key Takeaways

  • Monroe County DA Sandra Doorley issued public apology after traffic stop incident.
  • Doorley refused to stop, drove home, and berated officer during the stop.
  • Doorley faces criticism, calls for resignation, and review by state commission.
  • Doorley acknowledged wrongdoing, imposed self-discipline, and pledged ethics training.
  • Incident raises questions about Doorley's professionalism and ability to lead the DA's office.