Sheriff Denies Being Drunk During Off-Duty Arrest

A ruckus in an Iowa town has the Fremont County sheriff defending his involvement in an arrest. He was off-duty and he had been drinking.

Sheriff Kevin Aistrope says he wasn't drunk. “I had one or two drinks at a party.” Off-duty and not in uniform, the sheriff and three reserve deputies left a Tabor bar to arrest a drunken man in a parking lot who allegedly punched a dent in a pickup. On-duty officers were 15 minutes away. “I'm sheriff 24 hours a day. I wasn't intoxicated by no means.”

The suspect's cousin claims this was what she saw when she turned on her cell phone camera. “They were all panicked and within seconds the sheriff jumped off the pile of people and grabbed my phone and put it in his back pocket,” says witness Maggie Camp.

“I did not take the phone at all," says Sheriff Aistrope, who adds it was a reserve deputy wanting to preserve any evidence of the arrest, but the witness say she got her phone back only after showing it had no usable video. “Why he would have to take my phone for any reason, what is he trying to hide or cover-up?”

“We were not covering one thing up,” says Sheriff Aistrope. “I'm telling you I would not give this story to you if I had anything to hide.” He says the reserves involved in the arrest took field sobriety tests soon after the incident.

What did they show? “Below the legal limit and one of them was zero.” What about the sheriff? “I didn't get one of these.” If he had been given a breath test what would it have shown? “It would have shown me having a couple of beers. It would have shown me way under the limit.”

Sheriff Aistrope, up for reelection, questions the complaint, but Maggie Camp says she's not the only witness with a cell phone seized so the issue may not be open and shut.

The Fremont County attorney tells Fact Finders she's received only one written complaint about the incident. The Iowa Attorney General's Office told her they need more to open an investigation. The sheriff says he's done nothing improper to warrant any legal or ethical probe.

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