Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Haferman was suspended by the department since our initial reporting on an internal affairs investigation this summer.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — Fort Collins Police Services originally told FOX31 its internal affairs investigation into an officer’s history of questionable DUI arrests would be done by early October.
But when early October arrived, the department told the Problem Solvers the findings into Officer Jason Haferman’s conduct won’t be released for another month or two.
In the meantime, FOX31 has learned of another DUI arrest that raises more questions about the integrity of Haferman.
Zimmerman DUI arrest
Through a public records request, the Problem Solvers obtained the body camera video of the DUI arrest of a then 20-year-old woman named Carly Zimmerman from March 27 this year.
She was stopped after Haferman said in his report she drove past him in a reckless manner while he was finishing up the traffic stop of another driver.
In the video, Haferman can be heard in an exchange with the woman:
- Haferman: “How much alcohol we had tonight?”
- Zimmerman: “I’ve had none. I’ve been crying for about three hours.”
- Haferman: “Because I feel like I could smell some alcohol.”
Zimmerman told Haferman her eyes were watery because she had just gone through a breakup with her boyfriend and she agreed to perform roadside sobriety tests.
FOX31 has since learned the Zimmerman arrest is one of 10 cases involving Haferman that are part of the department’s internal affairs review.
The Larimer County District Attorney’s office told FOX31 it has dismissed 17 DUI cases connected to Haferman but said not all of the dismissals were related to Haferman’s actions.
FOX31 has previously reported there have been at least nine Haferman cases where breath and blood results showed no alcohol or drugs and a 10th case where marijuana test results were below the legal limit for impaired driving.
But the Zimmerman case is especially unique because she was arrested even though she never took a breath or a blood test, despite her response to Haferman on body camera video:
- Haferman: “Do you wish to take a breath or a blood test?”
- Zimmerman: “Blood test.”
- Haferman: “Blood, OK.”
On the way to the hospital, Haferman muted his body camera and never turned it back on for the remaining 30 minutes of the 47 minutes it was activated.
The entire portion of the body camera video at the hospital was blurred by FCPS.
A spokesman said privacy laws mandated the blurring at the hospital so it’s impossible to see if Zimmerman signed a consent form, and because the audio is muted, it’s impossible to know if Zimmerman changed her mind about taking a blood test. But in his report, Haferman wrote, “Refused a chemical test of her blood or breath.”
Nonetheless, Zimmerman’s DUI charge was later dismissed and her driver’s license was reinstated after the Department of Revenue held a hearing.
The Problem Solvers obtained an audio recording of the May 26 hearing where Zimmerman’s attorney, Monte Robbins, is heard asking the hearing officer, “I would ask that the hearing officer require Officer Haferman to respond to my questions.”
Haferman had declined to answer certain questions under oath, which led to this exchange between hearing officer Eric Beach and Haferman.
- Beach: “Officer Haferman, can you cite some legal authority that you don’t have to testify to that?”
- Haferman: “Well, from my experience, the officers that have had a lot of training and experience in this field do not go into depth in their roadside maneuvers.”
Haferman would be forced to answer questions about the roadside maneuvers he had Zimmerman perform that were used to justify probable cause for a blood test and her DUI arrest.
It was pointed out to Haferman that at one point on his body camera video, he could be heard whispering, “no VGN.”
“He’s referring to vertical gaze nystagmus (VGN). And that is where the field sobriety test, where you have the person you’re speaking with or testing, so to speak, follows the tip of your finger or a pen in an up and down motion,” Natasha Powers said.
Powers is a former Palo Alto, California police officer and now police practices expert with her own consulting firm, Powers Police Practices Consulting & Investigations, who agreed to review the body camera video and police reports for the Problem Solvers.
“I was in shock that she (Zimmerman) was actually arrested … There’s not one indicator that shows that she is under the influence,” Powers said. After watching the body camera video she said Zimmerman passed every test she was given: vision, balance, the ability to count backward, and certainly her speech, even though the report said Zimmerman slurred her speech.
“Not at all,” said Powers, who insisted there was never probable cause to ask for a breath or blood test. In addition, she found it suspicious that Haferman muted his body camera as soon as Zimmerman was placed in his patrol car.
“I find it unbelievable. I find it absolutely unbelievable. If he’s willing to lie on his police report about the facts of a basic case that happened out on the street, then what happened next and why it was muted is highly suspicious. And I don’t believe his testimony,” Powers said.
Judge criticizes Haferman in DUI not guilty verdict
Neither did a Larimer County judge back in March, in the criminal case against Harley Padilla.
Larimer County Judge Sarah Beth Cure found Padilla not guilty of DUI. In her March 3 verdict, she wrote: “The Court finds that Officer Haferman lacks credibility. His testimony was inconsistent. It changed course on several of the key facts. Some of his testimony is not supported by the evidence. In fact, some of it was contrary to the evidence.”
By then, Padilla had already spent a year in jail. At least, Zimmerman would only spend a night in custody.
“The officer, once you realize the problem is not a retraining issue, that the problem is an integrity issue, that officer needs to be fired,” Powers said.
Haferman has not been fired, but he was suspended in October, three months after the FOX31 Problem Solvers initially reported on the internal affairs investigation this summer. That investigation remains on-going.
His police report in the Zimmerman case states he found a half-empty bottle of vodka in her car.
Zimmerman told the officer she had been drinking earlier that morning at a friend’s house but insisted it was hours before she was behind the wheel.
Zimmerman and her attorneys declined to speak with FOX31.