Dearborn Heights police video shows Dearborn fire chief arrested for alleged OWI
Police video released Wednesday showed Dearborn's fire chief being pulled over this week for allegedly speeding, refusing a Breathalyzer and allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Joseph Murray was taken into custody around 3 a.m. Tuesday after being pulled over near Telegraph Road and Dartmouth Street in Dearborn Heights for allegedly going 15 mph over the speed limit and drifting through lanes, according to police-worn bodycam footage and a police report obtained by The Detroit News Wednesday.
The footage depicts the moments leading up to the arrest, including Murray allegedly refusing a Breathalyzer during the traffic stop with stammered speech and difficulty balancing during a series of sobriety tests.
"Do you have any idea how fast you were going today?" an officer asks.
"Probably too fast, huh ... I apologize," the chief responded.
When the officer probes whether Murray has had any drinks, the chief responds: "Yeah, I have had a couple beers for sure," telling the officer moments later he's had "three or four." After stepping out of his vehicle, he later told police he had "four or five."
"Alright, because I mean, let's just be honest: you are absolutely ripped, right?" one officer said. "You're hammered; drunk. You can barely speak. You can barely stand up."
Following a string of sobriety tests, Murray was asked to take a Breathalyzer. The chief responded: "... I feel like I just need to wait for a lawyer."
Police then told Murray he was under arrest for drunk driving and searched his vehicle, but no contraband was found, the police report said.
"Murray's eyes were red/watery/glossy and there was a strong odor of intoxicants emitting from his person," police wrote. "Officers observed Murray's speech to be slurred."
The chief's 2007 Chevrolet Silverado was impounded, and he was taken to a local hospital, where his blood was drawn. He was later transported to the police department for lodging pending sobriety, the police report noted.
Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud released a statement Tuesday morning vowing to take the "appropriate course of action" as details were released, and his office learned more.
"Earlier this morning, the administration was notified of an incident involving our fire chief," Hammoud said. "We are taking this matter seriously. As facts become known, we will take the appropriate course of action."
On Wednesday, Hammoud said Murray is on administrative leave.
A native of Chicago, Murray became a firefighter in 2001. He joined Dearborn Fire Department in 2004 and was later appointed as fire chief in 2012, according to the city's website.