Around 2 a.m. on October 27, 2012, Paul Bueltel and a friend were sitting in Bueltel's father's vehicle on the side of a road in Coates consulting a GPS system when a car pulled up behind them.
Unsure who was in the car, Bueltel began pulling away. But then the vehicle turned on its emergency flashers. Turns out two Dakota County deputies were inside.
As one of the deputies approached on foot, he saw a handgun jutting out of Bueltel's pocket. The deputy quickly drew his weapon.
"Don't you fucking move, you understand us?!" one of the deputies yelled, while Bueltel told him, "I've got my [gun] permit, man."
Here's the footage:
Bueltel, 35, ended up being arrested and charged with refusal to submit to a sobriety test, driving under the influence, and carrying a pistol while under the influence. But reached for comment today, he says he thinks the whole case should be thrown out.
First of all, Bueltel argues the deputies had no probable cause for the traffic stop. He says he was merely on the side of the road because he was lost and wanted to safely look up directions back to his place in Rosemount. The deputies, on the other hand, claim probable cause was established both by the chain of events leading up to the stop and the fact that Bueltel's vehicle was parked in front of a business that had been burglarized months earlier.
"I observed a vehicle that appeared to be driving the wrong way on Highway 52," the incident report pertaining to the case says. "As I got closer the vehicle was not traveling on Highway 52 but was parked on the shoulder in front of the Amish Furniture Store."
Bueltel also argues a breath test that pegged him at more than twice the legal limit for driving shouldn't be admitted in court.
(For more, click to page two.)
"Part of our defense is that I was actually sick at the time -- there were Dayquil and Nyquil bottles in the car," Bueltel tells us. "I couldn't do the breath test, but they insisted on charging me with refusal."
Bueltel says a deputy had him perform the "horizontal gaze test," and later cited the result as another reason to charge him with DUI. But Bueltel says the deputy admitted in subsequent testimony that "he doesn't follow the testing guidelines."
"A lot of the problem is if you look in the reports, [the deputies] are straight-up lying under oath," Bueltel says. "They claimed they [pulled me over] because there were recent burglaries in the area, but there hadn't been one for four and a half months before this happened."
Bueltel suspects the incident might've involved racial profiling, as well. Though the audio in the dash cam footage is garbled, Bueltel says one of the deputies can be heard in the opening seconds of the clip radioing his colleagues and saying, "I could need your help to arrest two black males."
Bueltel isn't black, but the friend who was in the car with him is. His friend had a small amount of marijuana on him and ended up pleading guilty to a possession charge.
"You can see how it happens," Bueltel says. "If it wasn't for my case nobody would hear about [the marijuana conviction], but his rights were violated too."
Bueltel says that during a court hearing earlier this year, a judge ruled the statements Bueltel made to police immediately following his arrest aren't admissible in court because they were literally given at gunpoint, violating his Miranda rights.
(For more, click to page three.)
The deputy "had an AR-15 pointed at my face when I told him I had a couple beers at Applebee's three hours earlier," Bueltel says. "I'd think that'd be enough to get the entire case dismissed."
Though his jury trial is set for early next year, one of the charges Bueltel faces could be dismissed before then. As we reported last week, a case currently before the Minnesota Supreme Court may result in Minnesota's "implied consent" statute being struck down, which would decriminalize refusing to submit to a sobriety test. (Read legal expert Ron Rosenbaum's analysis of that situation here.)
"We're kinda waiting to hear how that one turns out, because it could have a big impact on my case," Bueltel says.
Bueltel adds that one of the deputies involved in the incident, Brian Smidt, was honored as Dakota County "Deputy of the Month" in November 2012, the month following the incident.
"I just think it's important that people are aware officers are encouraged and awarded for doing stuff like this," Bueltel says.