After a full review of the evidence, including a toxicology report showing no alcohol or drugs in her blood, Angela West will not be prosecuted for driving while intoxicated. Mrs. West alleges she was refused the opportunity to talk with a lawyer and that key information is missing from of the police department’s edited arrest video. Others have also criticized how Dallas police conducted West’s sobriety tests.
On August 20, the Dallas Police Department arrested Angela West, wife of Republican candidate for governor Allen West, for driving while intoxicated with a child under 15 years old (her grandchild).
On September 1, West’s attorney, George Milner III, announced DPD’s toxicology report showed she had no alcohol or drugs in her blood when arrested. Last week, the Wests provided Texas Scorecard the results of a urine test Mrs. West took, showing she tested negative for ethyl glucuronide—which “relates to a composite byproduct of ethanol, which is found in consumable alcohol”—and for drugs.
Milner said Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot (D) rejected filing the case against West after reviewing all the evidence. “It is now indisputable Ms. West was completely innocent of any wrongdoing,” Milner stated. “This unfortunate stain on her otherwise exemplary reputation should be removed with haste!”
“The Dallas Police Department is aware of the lab results coming from the toxicology report. Due process is guaranteed to everyone, and Mrs. West is no different,” DPD Corporal Melinda Gutierrez told Texas Scorecard. “The officer made her decision based on the information available to her at that time.” Gutierrez also said the arrest video DPD released last week “was not to prove guilt or innocence, but to show the interaction between” Harris and West because of “accusations” made.
“The remainder of the process lies in the hands of the district attorney’s office,” Gutierrez said. “We respect the ultimate decision of the district attorney’s office and we will refrain from commenting further.”
The Tests and Arrest Video
The Wests took issue with how Officer Lydia Harris conducted the sobriety tests. “According to her records, the only thing that she could find with the eye [test] was [that] my eye was twitching. My astigmatism was there,” Mrs. West said. “She gave me two points off for standing on my leg. I said that I had an aneurysm, [so] I can’t do that.”
Mrs. West said her mention of her aneurysm was left out of the edited arrest video DPD released on August 23.
“The officer appears totally incompetent in administering the test,” Attorney Tony McDonald said after watching the video. “Any person with common sense can see that Mrs. West is sober.”
When asked about McDonald’s comment, DPD Sgt. Warren Mitchell gave the following reply: “We will not comment further. As Officer Fernandez pointed out in his previous email, please allow [DPD Chief Eddie] Garcia’s comments during the press conference and the video speak for itself. Thank you.”
Calloway Lawson, who identified himself as a 26-year police veteran with “literally hundreds of DWI contacts” who has worked on a DWI task force, also took issue with how the tests were done. “I don’t see the intoxication, I don’t see involuntary muscle movement in her eyes while performing the horizontal gaze nystagmus,” he said. “I did not see involuntary swaying or slurred speech or any indication that there was impairment due to alcohol or other intoxicating substance[s,] which for a veteran police officer is extremely obvious.”
“I do see an inexperienced police officer giving unclear commands and instructions regarding the performance of the standardize[d] field sobriety test,” he continued.
Mrs. West alleges other parts of the video and audio have been left out, among them are her telling Harris she takes no prescription medication or “street drugs,” and that she was following her GPS’ instructions when she moved over two lanes.
West said Harris turned off the police car’s interior camera. When she asked to speak to a lawyer, Harris allegedly replied, “You’re not [going to] speak to a lawyer.”
“They told me I wasn’t going to speak to a lawyer. ‘You can get a lawyer after you’ve been charged, and when you’re in court,’” West said. West also alleged she was pressured to deny she had been around anyone with COVID–19, “or you’re mine for the next 14 days … or we’re going to put you on the COVID board, and then you’ll really get sick.”
West also said what’s missing is her telling Harris the cuffs are too tight and that she would get lymphedema because of her mastectomy. She alleged Harris responded by telling her to “just slide in. It’ll be okay.”
Texas Scorecard asked DPD about West’s allegations.
“Yes, the video, which is nearly two hours long in total, was edited,” Mitchell stated. “But I would like to mention that some of the dead space you hear in the shorten[ed] version were redactions required by law.” He said we “should be able” to get the entire video—”with the required redactions”—through an open records request.
“I would not have made this arrest based on what this video shows,” Calloway said. “She does not display the tell tale intoxication signs regarding DWI.”
“I stand by my assertion that a full apology to my wife Angela is warranted,” Allen West said September 1. He has also called for DPD to release the full unedited video of her arrest. “My wife’s honor and reputation should have never been assailed.”
In an August 23 press conference regarding the arrest, Chief Eddie Garcia said, “When we’re wrong, we’re wrong; and we will hold ourselves accountable.”