The sheriff of Minnesota’s largest county was asked in a recent interview if he had ever driven drunk prior to Dec. 8, the day he rolled his taxpayer-funded vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
His response: everybody has driven drunk.
“You know, I think everybody has at one point,” the sheriff told WCCO. “I don’t believe I’ve ever driven under the influence to the excess that happened Dec. 8.”
Despite the fact that Hutchinson has checked himself into outpatient treatment to address his issues with alcohol, he maintains that he’s only a “light, social drinker.” However, he also admitted to Fox 9 that “every mistake” he’s made as an adult has seemingly been connected to alcohol.
Sources in the Minneapolis law enforcement community also tell Alpha News that Hutchinson was known to drink heavily, regularly.
The sheriff was apologetic and embarrassed in his recent media interviews, but he still has no plans to resign. He also believes that he’s been held accountable and hasn’t received any special treatment.
“I’ve been treated like anybody else,” Hutchinson told Fox 9. “In fact, if I wasn’t in this level, I probably wouldn’t have had as much attention. I chose to do this. I made the mistake. I’m facing the consequences and I’ll have to live with the consequences for the rest of my life.”
Hutchinson was facing a charge for carrying his pistol under the influence of alcohol, but that charge was “continued for dismissal,” meaning it will be dismissed entirely if he has no probation violations.
Leaders across Minnesota’s political spectrum have condemned the Hennepin County sheriff’s behavior, contradicting his claim that he received fair treatment and just punishment.
“There is not one job on this earth where you can be driving a company vehicle and do as much damage as you done to that company vehicle and that job don’t fire you,” Democratic Rep. John Thompson said in a recent Facebook livestream.
Several reporters have also criticized the lack of transparency involved in the process. No mugshot of Hutchinson was made public until Monday and his sentencing took place with no notice to the media or the public. This is despite the fact that several media outlets petitioned for access to Hutchinson’s court hearings, court records show.
Meanwhile, controversy also swirls around the media’s coverage of this case. Local photojournalist Rebecca Brannon claims that police visited her parents’ house at the behest of Hutchinson’s own office after she posted pictures of his wrecked vehicle.
Two of the photos appear to show THC products inside the vehicle.
Medina police showed up at my parents' home after I posted the photos of Hutchinson's wrecked squad – photos Hutch's lawyer & Co. Attorney Chad Larson tells press were "staged".
— Rebecca Brannon (@RebsBrannon) December 27, 2021