He’s a coward

I’m angrier than an iPhone user who has to install two urgent updates in the same day over this next one, gentle readers.  Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely abhor drunken drivers.  After all, my finance died at the hands of a drunken driver.

It angers me, then, that a high-ranking official here in Albany County has been accused of drunken driving after refusing to take a blood alcohol test.  Here we have another coward who won’t man up and be held accountable for his actions.
The deputy county executive, Michael McLaughlin, Jr., according to the Times Union, refused to take the test on the advice of the legal counsel of the county executive.  Because of that arrogant refusal, he was charged with misdemeanor drunk driving.  Rather than being held accountable, he’s being a little child, in my opinion.
This scumbag (drunken drivers are scumbags) is currently a contender for an Albany County Family Court judge position.  But currently, of course, he works in the County Executive’s office.  He is not listed on the county website, but I did confirm that he’s assigned to that office.
The incident occurred on Wednesday, which means that McLaughlin has had plenty of time to step up and be held accountable.  Instead, he’s hiding behind his attorney just like a little coward.  Like all drunken drivers, allegedly in his case, he runs away from being a man. Hopefully, he will become a convicted felon.
There’s no word on whether he’s been suspended, or if the county did the right thing and fired him.  It sounds like he’s guilty, based on the fact that he won’t take a simple BAC test.  However, I am required to say that he “allegedly” did this crime.
People like this guy make the roads unsafe.  What if he’d killed someone?  What then?  Would he hide like an entitled child?  Hopefully, he gets fired and he gets the maximum sentence, which, if the judge is good, will include time in the county jail.  Our roads are not safe with, I allege, drivers who think it’s okay to put us at risk of injury or death.
There are some questions here and the only media outlet, as of the publishing of this article, reporting on this story is the Times Union.  I don’t count as a media outlet, of course, but I am a blogger who reports on local news stories.  More and more, bloggers will report on the sort of stories that the local television stations and the newspaper won’t touch.
I take pride in the fact that I am a reporter.  So, I try to play fair and give both sides of the story, even when it seems cut and dry as it is in this case.
So let’s play fair.  According to the website of Brad B. Marazin, McLaughlin exercised his rights under state law, which states that there is a “statutory right to refuse [to take the test],” referring to the breath test.  The website does not address BAC tests.
If, and hopefully when, he is found guilty and if the prosecution doesn’t cave in and offer a plea deal, McLaughlin is looking at a revocation of his driver’s license and a $500 fine if this is his first offense, according to the website of  Aidala Bertuna and Kamis.  The website goes on to say that a refusal to submit to a test will become evidence that will be used against him.
Indeed, if he is innocent, he should have taken the test.  It is so simple.  All he had to do was follow instructions and submit to the test.  The fact that he’s hiding behind an attorney’s apron strings speaks volumes about his character, or lack thereof, in my opinion.
How will McLaughlin and his scumbag attorney (any attorney that would represent a drunken driver is a scumbag, in my opinion!) play this?  Time will tell!
Albany County does not offer a database of a person’s criminal history that is open to the public, so there’s no way for me to see if he’s pulled this stunt before, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t his first rodeo.
In the interest of presenting a balanced report, I reached out to the media representative for the county’s Executive County Executive office.  Mary Rozak, the Director of Communications for Office of Albany County Executive, responded with a statement on behalf of county executive, Daniel McCoy, which reads:
“Here in this Country, we have fought for freedom and the right to due process. Everyone has the right to defend themselves against allegations. Here, there are allegations which Mike shall be defending with his private attorney. This matter is not government related and did not occur in any capacity of his or anyone else’s official capacity. We shall continue to support our colleague through his personal matter.”
I was not expecting that!  The county is actually standing up for him.  What a disgrace.  I do, however, agree that he has the “right to due process,” as the statement read.  I also agree that he is, for the moment, considered innocent in a court of law.  Whether or not he’s innocent in the court of public opinion is another matter.
I sent Rozak a follow-up question:


“If McLaughlin had injured or killed someone, would the county still stand behind him as you are doing now?  His actions put every driver on the road at that time at risk and since he does represent the county, he should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us.  Why is the county defending him rather than suspending him pending the outcome of his court case?”


She did not respond to the follow-up question by the deadline for this article.  But I do appreciate her sending a press release to me in the first place.
When someone is accused of a crime, reporters and bloggers should absolutely say “allegedly,” reportedly, or “according to.”  Most crimes should be alleged.  If someone assaults someone, it could go either way.  Maybe the accused was provoked.  Maybe it was self defense.  There’s a lot to unpack there.
But in matters such as drunken driving, it’s pretty much cut and dry.  A DUI test is hard to ignore, because they’re accurate.  You can’t argue with cold, hard results.  If you’re over the limit, you’re pretty much toast.  And refusing a test is, in some states, considered an admission of guilt, so it’s not a wise move to refuse.
In New York state, refusing test results in an automatic license revocation for a year and a fine.  What McLaughlin has done, based on what I’ve read and based on my own opinion, has admitted guilt.
But no, he decided to listen to what I believe to be bad legal advice.  This is actually a good thing for us as citizens in Albany County, because he’s stuck a fork in himself.  He’s done.  Or at least he should be.
What should be done here, in my opinion, is that he should be suspended without pay while the matter works its way the legal system.  He should absolutely not be representing the county while this situation goes unresolved.
Rather than suspending him, the county is going to “support [their] colleague.”  That’s reprehensible.  It may or may not be a “personal matter,” but is it?  If he’s on salary, then he represents the county at all times.  Even if he were on this own personal time, he should be considered to be on duty.
Back in 2017, an Albany Police Department officer allegedly drove drunk not once, but twice.  If memory serves, he was off duty, but he was an APD officer and he was held to higher standards.  So it is here.  McLaughlin should be held to the highest standard.
Look at it this way: if our mayor, who drives herself around rather than being driven by a detail, drove drunk on her personal time, she’s still the mayor and should suffer dire consequences because she’s being held to a higher standard.
People like me aren’t held to that higher standard, because I am not a leader in any capacity.  Not at church, not anywhere.  If I were a local church leader, then I should absolutely be subject to that standard.
Is it fair, given that because I’m not famous nor am I in a position of authority, that I am not held up to that higher standard while people like McLaughlin have a higher standard to adhere to?  Maybe, maybe not.  But when you take a position of authority, you face more severe charges.  That’s the way it is and that’s the way that it should be.
I get it.  McLaughlin has yet to go through the legal system, so he should be considered innocent, but given the crime that he’s accused of committing, a crime where someone could have died, again, he should immediately be suspended sans pay.  That sort of thing happens all the time.
When someone is accused of such serious charges, they’re more often than not suspended.  He shouldn’t be fired at this time, but he needs a time out.  If he is convicted, or pleads guilty, then he should be removed from office and he should never become a judge.  How can he stand in judgement of parents and other people involved in family court cases when he can’t follow the law?  How can he lead and represent the county?  He can’t.
I don’t know what’s more disgusting, the fact that a high-ranking county official allegedly drove drunk, or the fact that the county is going to allow him to carry on with his duties during a period where he will hopefully be convicted on the most severe charges possible.
Not only are they going to allow him to continue his duties, but they’re actually defending him.  I have to wonder how Rozak or McCoy would feel if he’d plowed into someone they loved or cared about.  Would they be rising to his defense?  Maybe they’re okay with one of their people putting lives at risk, but I’m not, and neither should you be okay with it.
This matter is going to be a distraction for him and he won’t be able to give the county his undivided attention.  Therefore, he should be temporarily relieved and, depending on the outcome of his case, he should either be fired or returned to duty after being disciplined, depending on what happens.  But he should absolutely not be working, representing the county.
This story is becoming quite popular.  As of the time that this article was published, it’s the #1 article on the Times Union‘s website.  The television news stations in Albany picked up the story only after the press release was sent.
The local ABC affiliate, WTEN, reported on its website, under a big red breaking news matter that McLaughlin was released to a “sober third party.”  What kind of a scumbag would pick him up as opposed to letting him rot?  Why is a drunken driver being let out onto the streets and roads, with or without a “third party” potentially enabling him?  I hope a drunken driver takes out the enabler’s loved ones.  Then we’ll see how he or she feels.
WNYT, the local NBC affiliate, reported that McLaughlin was pulled over at around 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the intersection of Wolf and Albany Shaker roads.  The station reported that he was charged with the misdemeanor charge (which should be a felony!) and was given an appearance ticket.  He is due in court  on May 20.
As of the time that this article was published, the only station to not report on the story was the local CBS affiliate.
McLaughlin is not being charged with a felony like should be, but he should still be made an example of in the strongest way possible.  Maybe the county executive’s office doesn’t care about drunken driving. Hell, from the looks of things, they condone it.  But will a judge hold him accountable?  What kind of message will be sent?
The county is watching.