When you are Mayor-for-life, you don’t need to stop for red lights

Ward-8 councilmember Marion Shepilov Barry (D) was stopped by police for running a red light (The Post) early Sunday morning.

Tom Mazur, spokesman for the Secret Service, said Barry’s car ran a red light at 16th and H streets NW. The officers administered a field sobriety test and took Barry to the U.S. Capitol Police station, where he was given a breathalyzer test.

Mazur said police could not get an accurate reading on the breathalyzer, so Barry was asked to submit to a urine analysis, which he refused. Barry was then ticketed for running a red light and failing to submit to a urine analysis, the spokesman said.

The former mayor disputes the Secret Service’s side of the story:

Barry, in a telephone interview yesterday, said he was not intoxicated and had not run the light. He said he passed the breathalyzer when the test registered a 0.02, far below the legal threshold for intoxication, 0.08. The former four-term mayor accused federal authorities of trying to “embarrass and discredit me.”

This is Barry’s second traffic incident in the last four months. He will likely face a Department of Motor Vehicles examiner rather than a judge. Regardless of the outcome, the former mayor’s probationary status for failing to pay federal and local taxes is not expected to change.

4 Comments so far

  1. smouie kablooie (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 8:26 am

    You know what – I’m actually going to side with Barry on this one. Since when does the Secret Service pull people over for traffic violations? Further, the fact that he took the field sobriety test, and the breathalyzer, means the authorities had an opportunity to capture tangible evidence regarding his sobriety. For a breathalyzer to not produce “an accurate reading” – to me – means that either it wasn’t calibrated on a regular basis – which it certainly should be if you are going to be using it to determine whether or not to charge people with DUI – or that it didn’t give them the result they were looking for. I hope Barry said the following to them, preferably in an Eric Cartmen voice: “Urine analysis? Screw you guys, I’m going home…”

    I think that these machines are also supposed to produce a “receipt” that says what the results of each of the two tests were. Can the Washington Post say FOIA?

  2. Don (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 10:44 am

    It’s also possible to be unable to capture a good reading with a breathalyzer if the perp refuses to use it correctly…

  3. Maggie (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 11:50 am

    Maybe they were hoping to see if he was on crack since they couldn’t find any alcohol in his system…

  4. Tiffany (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

    I think the answer to Smouie’s Secret Service question is here:

    “Barry said the incident occurred after he saw Secret Service officers gesturing at him as he drove near the White House. He was giving a brief tour to an out-of-state elected official, whom he would not identify, when authorities stopped him.”

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the Secret Service actually did have joint jurisdiction over moving violations in the immediate area of the White House- maybe they don’t want to have to wait for local police to arrive if someone comes speeding toward the barricades.

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