BOSTON (CBS) – A top aide to Governor Deval Patrick has been placed on unpaid leave after he was accused of driving drunk last weekend.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports
Brookline police stopped Ron Bell, the governor’s Senior Advisor for Community Affairs, for driving erratically on Route 9 early Sunday morning.
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports
According to the police report, as an officer approached his SUV, Bell said “Don’t shoot me, don’t shoot me!” and “raised his hands over his head as if surrendering.”
The report also says he told officers, “That he worked for Deval Patrick, and he is very important at the statehouse”.
“That’s an allegation, and I’m not going to comment on allegations,” said the Governor.
According to police, when Bell was stopped he had “bloodshot and glassy eyes”, and failed three sobriety tests.
Patrick told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Wednesday it’s a, “very serious matter.”
“Ron Bell is a valued member of the staff and a friend and he’s been a supporter for a long, long time. But these are very serious charges. We are taking them seriously and, more to the point, he is taking them seriously. Until they are resolved, he will remain on unpaid leave.”
“I’ve spoken to him. I didn’t get into the details of it. I’m concerned about him. I am glad that he and no one else was hurt.”
Bell’s lawyer told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that his client may have failed the tests because Bell suffers from gout.
Bell was an energetic mover behind the governor’s historic first campaign. The charges have stung a long-time reputation for political organizing and galvanizing voters and volunteers. His friend, Reverend William Dickerson, said the public should reserve judgement.
“I don’t want people who don’t know him to stop right there. They need to understand the totality of the work and the things he’s done over the years,” said Dickerson.
According the report, Bell was also acting “extremely unusual”, fumbling for his license and trying to reach under his seat. He had apparently lost a front cap tooth that friends say makes him extremely self conscious.
Police say Bell told them he had two beers about an hour before the stop.
“We expect and we hold staff to the highest possible standards. What they do reflects on all of us. And that’s why we have taken the steps we have with Ron Bell,” Patrick said.
“He’s a friend, he is a valued member of the staff, but he is not above the law.”
“No one in my office should expect to be treated any differently than any other citizen. Their expectation and my expectation is that they will hold themselves to the highest possible standard of behavior because I do.”
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano contributed to this report.