Detroit Police Officers Arrest Their Own Commander In Alleged DUI Case

Johnny Thomas, a 20-year police veteran, had once run the internal affairs department.

A police commander in Detroit was arrested by officers from his own precinct early Saturday and is facing misdemeanor drunken driving charges after allegedly slamming into a car stopped at a traffic light. 

Commander Johnny Thomas, a 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.182 at the scene, more than double the legal limit, according to WXYZ, the local ABC station. 

That’s considered “super drunk” under Michigan law.

Thomas had been driving a department-issued vehicle when he struck a pickup truck at a red light, the station reported. The driver of that truck complained of back pain and was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released.

In a news conference, Detroit police chief James Craig called the incident “very disappointing” and said Thomas had been placed on restricted duty while he is under investigation. Thomas could ultimately face being demoted or even opt for retirement as a result of the incident. 

Craig also commended the officers for arresting a high-ranking supervisor in their own precinct.

“Certainly it was an uncomfortable position for them to be placed in,” he said.  

It’s embarrassing, I guess. You’re supposed to be the police commander. There is a higher standard to operate by,” Andrew Hinton, who lives near the scene and heard the crash, told Fox 2 Detroit. 

Thomas, who once ran internal affairs, had been considered a “rising star” in the department, The Detroit News reported.