Dirty, Not Dirty – Brian Filipiak, Washtenaw County

I’m calling this one Dirty, Not Dirty because one officer did the right thing and one officer did the wrong thing.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Brian Filipiak was headed up north for a vacation. He was driving, and he was drunk. Apparently, it was bad enough that several drivers called it in and a sworn Montmorency County Sheriff’s Department officer caught up with Filipiak to investigate.

Filipiak started by introducing himself as a police officer:

Look in his left hand. At the front of his wallet is his badge. That’s so that he can flash it to any police officer that dares pull him over. He expects to be sent on his merry way.

A few seconds later he affirmatively holds his badge and his official police ID out for the officer to see:

He eventually gave the investigating officer both his department ID and his driver’s license.

Around two minutes they ask him what he’s been drinking. “Just a couple,” he answers.

At 2:40 they talk about how he’s a lieutenant.

At 3:00, they ask him to step out of the vehicle. He doesn’t and he says, “just let me go…”

What’s disturbing is that this kind of cop-help-cop behavior is so ingrained in law enforcement that Filipiak thought it was appropriate to ask for special treatment. What’s even more disturbing is that Filipiak was surprised and rebellious when he didn’t get that special treatment.

Filipiak doesn’t get out of his vehicle. He sits in his truck and continues to ask the officer to just let him sleep it off. The officer probably let Filipiak get away with sitting there longer than he might have if the arrest was anyone else. Who knows. They finally get Filipiak out of the truck and make their arrest.

Tests would later reveal that he had a blood alcohol level of a .17. That’s inconsistent with “just a couple.” That’s a lot.

Despite having a history of alcohol-related poor behavior, Filipiak maintained his employment with Washtenaw County, because we don’t know why.

The investigating officer could have said that Filipiak didn’t look that drunk. But that gets a lot harder when there’s a camera on you recording what you’re doing. So who knows what the officer would have done if he had thought he had no accountability. But the good news is the officer didn’t try and find out. The officer also did a good job of keeping his cool during what must have been a stressful situation.

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31 thoughts on “Dirty, Not Dirty – Brian Filipiak, Washtenaw County”

  1. Over-consumption of alcohol can be devastating. When a person is drunk, he has overdosed. Driving intoxicated can easily ruin the lives of victims and their friends and family, and the driver, their friends and families. In my opinion, the arresting officer showed a great deal of respect and patience, while he enforced the law perfectly. I congratulate him for a job very professionally and well done. He did not allow himself to be intimidated by another police officer of a higher rank. Excellent police work.

    1. during the video the arresting officer says:

      “please step out of the vehicle “ 40 times..

      he says he cant let him go because:
      he is being recorded

      there were multiple calls
      3 times

      his supervisor already knows

      a couple of times

      he said we are not above the law once

      however, never once
      not a single time did the officer tell Brian that he was putting peoples lives in danger

      would he have let him go if the incident was not recorded?
      id bet money on that..

      he even said midway that he has had more than a “road beer or two”

      what does that mean?
      is a “road beer” okay for police ?

      this exchange really makes me think ..

      1. I see nothing here to indicate that the arresting officer had any sympathy for him or even considered letting him go. Citing the objective reasons (being recorded, the multiple calls, supervisor already knows) is simply his attempt to cut off the wheedling, pleading, appeal for leniency.

        “You know there’s no way I could do that” does not necessarily mean “I would if I could but I can’t”.

        In my view, this was well handled by the arresting officer. It’s always better to try to reason with the guy (even when he’s not responding to it) than to make it look like a personal judgment (even when it is).

        1. ” is simply his attempt to cut off the wheedling, pleading, appeal for leniency.”

          If that’s what he attempted, don’t you think he would stopped it sometime as it clearly wasn’t working?
          It seems obvious to me that you’re one of those Americans who thinks an officer can do no wrong.

          1. I am the last person to be sympathetic to cops breaking the law, but the arresting officer was trying to give himself an “out” by saying he was being recorded, 911 was called, the supervisor knew etc.

            He was trying to remain professional and toe the fine line that is walked when you arrest one of your own. I think it was clear the arresting officer had every intention of arresting him from the start.

            It shows how hard it is to try to reason with a drunk.

            FWIW, i have two issues. First, the article asks the question whether “we” would be extended the same patience and we KNOW they’d drag us out and then we’d be proned-out on the pavement as cars zip by a foot from our head. Of course, there’s a good likelihood we’d receive a few (being generous) punches, while they shout “stop resisting”. That’s the catch-phrase, so if anyone overhears it, they were just doing their job and we were physically and violently trying to break free.

            Secondly, look at the physical condition of Lt. Filipiak. I am not “fat shaming” anyone, but his physical condition is a disgrace. A police officer ought to maintain a professional appearance, and be physically fit. He is obese and unfit to chase any criminals. Even if he’s a desk jockey, there are standards.

            When does it stop?

            I applaud the officer for arresting this guy. I suspect if he hit someone in his own town, it would be written up as an accident and no blood would be drawn. Forget about simply being stopped if he didn’t hit someone. We know nobody in his own department would arrest him.

        1. that would be great if this cop didn’t have a history of alcohol abuse, drinking and driving, and run-ins with the police. If he drinks and drives and then kills your mom when shes driving home from the grocery store, should we still “Forget it and “move forward”??????

  2. I’d like to mention that according to news sources Filipiak blew 0.27 and 0.28 on his two breath tests; 0.17 is the BAC at which point it goes from simple drunk driving to “super-drunk”, with enhanced penalties.

    1. Brian Filipiak is Scum.
      He should have been compliant in his position and most definitely NOT ALLOWED back in the police force .
      Corruption does Rules though in the police.

  3. The very fact that this DRUNK (repeat offender D.U.I. violater) Lt. was definitely given preferential treatment, while clearly resisting arrest and trying to bribe an officer—not to mention being even allowed to work in the Sheriff’s office with only a small pay decrease is PROOF POSITIVE that the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office is nothing but an enabling, crooked and corrupt organization whose leadership should ALL BE FIRED!!!

  4. The video is pretty disturbing on several levels. Primarily, the drunken and rebellious behavior of Lt. Filipiak displays during the initial questioning and cowardly position he takes with respect to the officer tasked with the interview and subsequent arrest. Filipiak is a Law Enforcment (LE) supervisor, asking a street cop to look the other way while he (Filipiak) drives under the influence. My biggest concern while watching the video was that Filipiak would do something else stupid like reach for his service firearm, attempt to drive away from the scene, or fight the arresting officers.

    I agree with several of the other comments regarding the proposed outcome. Most of us involved in this type behavior (DUI), having a history of alcohol related incidents, would have been fired from a Federal, State, or local LE position. Although demoted, he still retained a position in the County at tax tax payers expense. Not a good look for the Sheriff or his department. I hope the Sheriff is consistent in the way punishment is dispensed in his agency, so the the next guy/girl from the WCSO who gets a DUI will know they’re only looking at a demotion and probation, not termination, which most cops face given similar circumstances. In my humble opinion, with Filipiak’s history of alcohol abuse, he should never receive another penny of tax payer money!

  5. People that are in law enforcement are supposed to be role models.

    I think they should get the maximum penalty and loose the privilege to protect and serve.

    It’s an outrage that he still has a job with the same department that knew he had prior alcohol related incidents.

    One year probation? Our judicial system is so broke and corrupt. Judge should be dis-barred.

  6. Previous comments have already addressed this drunk’s conduct during his arrest so I don’t feel a need to re-hash that part.What I want to point out is the drunk’s general belligerence during the entire episode. It’s the same belligerence I’ve often experienced when dealing with cops, regardless of the reason for having to deal with them. I don’t trust them and don’t like many of them.

  7. Where I work we would have just drove him to where he wanted to go you dont hang paper on the same team I would have got even when one of theirs was in my county!we have better driving skills intoxicated then the public

    1. You are sick Bill! I really hope you aren’t a LEO with that attitude. You are absolutely WRONG! What a moronic statement to make. YOU are better drunk than the public is sober?? YOU are the reason people don’t trust law enforcement. Dirty cops like YOU!

    2. Looks like Bill is just another corrupt power-monger who thinks he’s hot sht, when he’s really just another steaming pile.

    3. You and scumbags like you are the reason people don’t like cops. You certainly don’t drive better drunk at .28 than any member of the public. And lets not forget he was observed going all over the road. Which proves he wasn’t driving well at all. You’re probably just a troll but if not I’m sure you’ll get what’s coming to you eventually when you run into a decent LEO willing to do their job

  8. I would have been tased 12 times and drug out of the window by my hair by my 3rd refusal to exit the vehicle. Good cop had the patience on JOB though.

  9. Im an ex cop myself in South Africa, I feel very sorry for the arresting officers becuase it is an absolutely aweful position to be in and I think he showed great strength of character to see the arrest through. It goes against every instict you have that urges you to protect your fellow officers, an intense bond that only police know becuase you rely on each other to stay alive. Im sure this arrest will haunt him forever, but he rose to the occasion in a professional manner. Sorry you were placed in that position buddy.

  10. The arresting officer had the patience of a saint. If the boot had been on the other foot, this Lt Filipiak would’ve tased you and dragged you out of the vehicle without the blink of an eye. He should’ve been heavily fined then sacked and never allowed to stay with the PD. I wonder how many other high ranking cops have been stopped for drunkeness and let go by a more timid officer? Filipiak didn’t realise he was dealing with a decent cop who was not afraid to do his duty, well done sir, we need more cops like you

  11. Fortunately, the arresting officer stuck to his guns and arrested a potential fatal accident. The man was obviously drunk. It is unfortunate, that the arresting officer did not tell Filipiak that sleeping it off was not an option. When dealing with uncooperative people, you give an two options. 1) Get out of the car and take the field sobriety test or 2) Get out of the car , be arrested, taken downtown, etc. Each step officer needed to say sleeping it off is not an option nor letting him go. State two options 1) get out of car on your own or 2) we will forcibly remove you. Now he tried this but he never told the driver sleeping it off was not an option. We’re dealing with a drunk. Once out of the vehicle, you give Hime his two options…1) field sobriety test or 2) handcuffs and arrest. Officer let drunk control the conversation way to long.

    Anyways, I still commend the officer to do the right thing and get this guy off the road and protect innocent lives.

    1. I disagree the officer was treading very lightly because it was another officer but he was still asserting that he had only two options. He said multiple times those other things could NOT and would NOT happen. He could have been more forceful but it was a good move not to be because this was bound to make the rounds and be politicized. Arresting officer handle things very well.

  12. Filipiak, you still packing heat? If you shoot someone on the job the big cash lawyers are going to be slobbering all over the court floor to get big money out of the county! Because they will. But if the county residents are OK with that I guess the lawyers will not bitch! Just raise the taxes.

  13. I am glad someone brought up the .17 blood alcohol level that the “bad lieutenant” was charged with, not the actual .27 or .28 that he actually blew. Not only that, the drunk cop was stalling because every second that goes past, the blood alcohol level slowly comes down, not a big issue if you are super hammered, but if you are borderline, say .06 or .07, that make the difference between pass or lose cop job.

  14. Mike Kelly- He was charged with .28 The .17 is the threshold to “super drunk” That’s the reason for the .17 statement. So, to be fair, the arresting officer did his job and really stuck it to him, as he should have. Whatever deals that were worked out later were due to the prosecutor, not the arresting officer.

  15. The arresting officer did his job very professionally. He made it clear to the drunk lieutenant that he was going to be arrested. The officer displayed great courtesy while still performing his duty. Some seem to think the officer took too long to finally arrest the lieutenant, but that was the professional courtesy he showed to the lieutenant while still enforcing the law properly. I have never been a law enforcement officer, but I have great respect for them as I have ridden with some officers over the last 30 years and have found them to be some of the most professional, civic minded, kind, considerate people I’ve ever known. I think we should remember the conditions law officers deal with every day. If you want to learn something, ride with a cop, deputy or trooper a few times and see what they deal with. You’ll get a whole new perspective. You folks in Law Enforcement are the best. God bless you and keep you.

  16. If I had been head of the department, I would have commended the arresting officer for showing no favoritism in arresting a drunk cop and I probably would have given both guys a raise. Behind closed doors, I would have told them that if they are ever in this situation again with a drunk fellow officer, do not let it go on and on like this one did. I’m sure the officers would have treated a civilian much, much differently.

  17. It took a long time, but they finally stripped him of his badge and he is no longer considered a “law enforcement officer” although he still works at the department in a “support role”. My guess is that he’ll eventually become a cop again at the same department sooner or later.

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