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Judge OKs Breathalyzer Tests for NY Police Who Injure or Kill With Weapon

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A federal judge ruled Thursday that the New York Police Department (NYPD) policy of administering a breathalyzer test to any officer whose use of a weapon results in injury or death is constitutional.

The policy was instituted after undercover detectives shot to death a man leaving his bachelor party at a strip club on the eve of his wedding. At least one of the officers said he had drunk two beers at the club, but was not given a breathalyzer test. According to NYPD rules, undercover officers are permitted to have two drinks while inside a bar during an operation, to protect their identity.

The New York policy union challenged the breathalyzer policy, Reuters reports. The union said the officer’s Fourth Amendment right to privacy superseded the police department’s need to know whether officers who fire their weapons are intoxicated, the article notes.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels compared the policy in his ruling to other “suspicion-less searches” that have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, including random drug testing of athletes, drug and alcohol testing for railway workers and sobriety checkpoints for drivers.

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