Prosecutors have dismissed a charge of public intoxication against a former Los Angeles police commander who allegedly passed out in her city car and then became belligerent with Glendale police.
The misdemeanor charge was dismissed by a judge Monday after the former commander, Nicole Mehringer, showed proof that she had completed a 30-day outpatient program, said a spokesman for the L.A. County district attorney’s office.
Mehringer and a subordinate, Sgt. James Kelly, were arrested April 27, 2018, by Glendale police officers who found them in an unmarked police Dodge Charger that had come to rest against a parked vehicle. It took the officers about 20 minutes to get the pair out of the vehicle, according to Glendale police.
Kelly, who was behind the wheel, appeared to be under the influence, while Mehringer also showed signs of intoxication and argued with the officers, Glendale police said.
The LAPD placed Mehringer and Kelly on unpaid leave, and both pleaded not guilty to criminal charges.
Kelly was charged with one count of driving under the influence and one count of driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or more. A hearing in his case is scheduled for Sept. 23.
Brad Gage, Mehringer’s civil attorney, said he was glad the misdemeanor charge was dismissed and questioned why it was brought in the first place. He said the case was weakened because the Glendale Police Department had lost evidence, including dashboard camera footage and audio recordings. Responding officers tried to “intimidate” Mehringer at the scene and joked about pepper spraying her, he alleged.
A Glendale police spokesman said he is not aware of any evidence being lost or any misconduct by Glendale officers toward Mehringer.
“Losing evidence or intimidating her — that’s not what we do at the Glendale Police Department,” said the spokesman, Sgt. Dan Suttles.
Mehringer, 48, who was considered a rising star in the LAPD, ran the department’s employee relations group, which handles contract negotiations, grievances and other union-related issues. Kelly, 47, worked under her.
Mehringer lost her job after an LAPD Board of Rights panel ruled against her in December. Kelly has resumed working for the department in an administrative post, an LAPD spokesman said, but is now a police officer — a lower rank than sergeant.
Gage has previously accused the LAPD of treating Mehringer unfairly compared to male command staff with alcohol-related misconduct allegations. He said he is fighting to get her job back.
Mehringer’s arrest was one of several-high profile incidents involving alleged off-duty misconduct in the upper echelons of the LAPD in the last year.
In January, a vehicle registered to then-commander Jeff Nolte was found wrecked near Carson. Nolte was placed on administrative leave and demoted, but he was ultimately allowed to leave the agency and cash out his pension under the city’s controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan.
Last year, Assistant Chief Jorge Villegas retired suddenly after an undercover surveillance unit witnessed him engaging in a sex act with a subordinate inside his department car.