Graham Police Report Reveals Hospital Confrontation

1 decade 11 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, October 24 2007 Oct 24, 2007 Wednesday, October 24, 2007 5:00:39 PM CDT October 24, 2007 in News

Columbia police released the full, 17-page report this morning. In the report, Officer Donald Weaver gives a running narrative of what happened at the scene of the arrest, at the Columbia Police station, and at University Hospital where Graham went for medical attention.

Weaver's report begins with his arrival on Green Meadows road about 45 minutes after the accident took place. Weaver writes that Graham initially denied having consumed any alcohol. But Weaver writes, "However, despite the fact that we were outdoors in relatively heavy winds, I detected a strong odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath." Weaver reports he asked Graham again about alcohol consumption and the senator replied he had had "a few drinks" over the previous two hours. The report says Graham then changed his answer again to "two beers."

Weaver's report details the problems the officer said he had giving Graham the "horizontal gaze nystagmus" test, a field sobriety test used to assess probable cause. Weaver says he asked Graham to place his chin on his hands, which Graham called "nonsensical." Weaver reports Graham then went on to tell him he was unable to place his chin on his hands because he is "partially paralyzed." Graham uses a wheelchair.

Weaver writes that probable cause existed at this point to place Graham under arrest for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Weaver reports he explained the test four more times to Graham, who eventually complied. Weaver's report details Graham's test results, after which Weaver says he told Graham he doubted the senator had only had a few drinks, or had used alcohol in conjunction with a controlled substance. Weaver reports Graham denied having used any drugs, and when he asked Graham again how much alcohol he had consumed, the senator at first remained silent and then told him he was refusing to answer.

Weaver reports he then arrested Graham and took him to the Columbia Police Department, where Graham called his attorney, Robert A. Murray. Weaver says Graham then noticed a bruise on his arm and requested medical attention. Weaver writes he called paramedics to the station, and Graham's attorney then arrived, as did the paramedics. After an examination, the paramedics confirmed Graham did have a bruise and that it might hurt for a few days, the report says. 

At that point, Weaver writes that Graham began breathing very rapidly, as if hyperventilating. Weaver reports that, despite the unusual breathing, both Graham and Murray requested the paramedics discontinue their examination so that Graham and Murray could confer in private. Weaver reports that as soon as the door closed, Graham's breathing returned to normal and he spoke normally to his attorney without experiencing any other rapid breathing.

Weaver's report states that at the end of the conference with his attorney, Graham emerged and demanded to be taken to the hospital. Weaver writes police then called for an ambulance. While waiting for the ambulance, Weaver writes that he asked Graham "no less than six times" to submit to a chemical breath test. Weaver reports Graham would not comply, repeatedly saying "I'm not refusing anything, I need medical attention."

The report states paramedics then arrived and took Graham to University Hospital, where his attending physician was Scott Schultz. Weaver reports that as Schultz first entered the examination room, he greeted Graham in a familiar voice and cited previous event where they had met. Weaver reports that, as Graham urinated into a container in the room, he once again asked to get a chemical test of his blood.  Weaver says Graham refused and asked to speak to his attorney. Weaver writes he told Graham he had already had ample opportunity to speak with Murray. Weaver writes that at that point, Schultz told him that it was reasonable for Graham to access his lawyer. Weaver's report outlines a discussion between the two that ended in Weaver allowing Murray into the room for a "brief consultation."

Weaver's report states that, with the attorney in the room, Weaver once again asked to obtain a blood sample. When Graham and his attorney refused, Weaver states he then ordered a nurse to place Graham's urine on the counter in the examination room. Citing probable cause to believe the urine constituted evidence of a crime and that it was about to be destroyed, Weaver writes that he moved to immediately seize it. Weaver's report states he did not believe there was time to get a search warrant before the urine was destroyed.

Weaver writes he phoned a co-worker to determine the suitability of the urine for blood alcohol content testing while Graham was awake and alert in earshot. Weaver writes that, when Graham's attorney came back the room, the two whispered and looked at the urine container. Weaver reports Murray then left the room.

Weaver writes that he feared Schultz would return to destroy the urine, so he seized it and moved to take it as evidence. Weaver states at that point a nurse told him to return the urine to the room, saying "You can't do that. Dr. Schultz just told me to go get the urine and throw it away."  Weaver writes that Schultz, Murray, and a hospital administrator perhaps named "Danelle" returned to the room and saw him holding the urine container. Weaver writes that Schultz "ordered" him to turn over the urine. Weaver writes that he refused and that Murray told him taking the urine was illegal  and that the hospital administrator "sternly demanded that I return the urine immediately." Weaver writes that with all three people "yelling" at him, he informed all that he was a police officer and was taking the urine without further discussion.

Weaver's report then details a confrontation that almost reaches the physical level. 

"Schultz was angry. His fists were clentched (sic) and the muscles in his forearms were flexed. His voice got progressively louder. He began pointing his finger at me as he continued to yell at me and order me to relinquish custody of my evidence. He repeatedly informed me that I was not leaving the room with the evidence."

Weaver writes that the administrator demanded to speak to a sergeant and that one was called to the hospital. Weaver writes about what happened next. 

"At one point, while Schultz was at the height of his frustration, he began to reach his hand out toward me. In a loud, clear, and stern voice, I commanded Schultz to back away from me. I threatened to arrest Schultz and anyone else that obstructed me. As I reached the door, I noticed that Murray had placed himself in front of the door knob. I ordered him to move, he ignored me, and instead looked at Schultz. I again ordered him to move and he complied."

Weaver's report detailed one final confrontation. 

"I exited the room and was confronted by two security guards at least one whom ordered me to stop and return my evidence. I ordered them to back away and they complied. As I entered the main portion of the emergency room, I was confronted by more security guards who also ordered me to return the urine to the room. As I walked to the exit I heard the female administrator yelling out for someone to call the University Police Department."

Weaver reports he secured the urine in his police car and returned to the hospital, where he heard Sergeant Shouse-Jones, Schultz, the administrator, and an MU Police sergeant in a discussion of the case. Weaver writes he heard Schultz refer to Graham as "intoxicated." 

Weaver's report shows he then took the urine to police evidence and returned with a search warrant for Graham's blood, which was drawn at about 3:50 a.m. At that point, Weaver took Graham to the Boone County Jail for booking and took the rest of the evidence to the Columbia Police station. Weaver's report ends citing his request that videotape from his patrol car of Graham, as well as police station video, all be taken into evidence. 

In response to the report, Mary Jenkins, Public Relations Manager of University of Missouri Health Care, issued a two-sentence written statement. 

"Our staff followed the appropriate procedures. Our responsibility is to provide medical care for our patients and respect their privacy."        

 

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