Cops: ACLU Director Arrested on DWI Charge in June [UPDATED]

The following information was supplied by the East Hampton Village Police Department. A criminal charge is only an accusation and does not indicate guilt.

Anthony D. Romero, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union, was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated in June, said on Tuesday. 

Police Chief Jerry Larsen said the arrest report had been inadvertently omitted from the weekly arrest sheets.

Romero, who is 45 and has a house in the Dune Alpin section of East Hampton, was driving a 2005 Mini Cooper erratically -- yet very slow -- into the village on June 26, according to the police report.

The arresting officer said Romero drove on the shoulder of Pantigo Road, near Egypt Lane, and then crossed the solid double-yellow line. He also "impeded traffic by driving 10 mph in a 30 mph speed zone," police said.

Once pulled over at 12:50 a.m., police noted he appeared drunk; his breath smelled of alcohol, his eyes were bloodshot and glassy, his speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. He reportedly had to use his car to keep his balance when police asked him to step out of the car. 

Police asked him several times for his driver's license and they said he was "fumbling through his pockets" for it. 

He refused to perform field sobriety tests, including a breath test. 

Romero was charged with misdemeanor DWI and several violations, including refusing to take a breath test, failure to use a designated lane, driving on the shoulder and driving too slowly, impeding traffic. 

Edward Burke Jr. of Sag Harbor said his client pleaded not guilty. He is due back in court later this month.

In a statement provided from the ACLU, Romero said, “I very much regret that this incident occurred, and look forward to resolving the matter with the authorities.”

An attorney, Romero is the first Latino and openly gay man to serve at the director of the ACLU, according to his biography on the ACLU website. He took over the role nearly 10 years ago, just four days before 9/11. 

He has overseen the firm's recent initiatives on human rights, racial justice, religious freedom, technology and privacy, reproductive freedom and LGBT rights, including the Marriage Equality Act, which was . 

According to a 2009 article in The New York Times, Romero lives in New Jersey and spends weekends in East Hampton.

This article will be updated when more information becomes available.

glory days August 10, 2011 at 12:59 PM
Oh my! Can this be, the do gooders of America have a leader, that took a chance on killing one of the "poor downtrodden" he has sworn to protect. He was probably focusing on one of the churches that had an American flag flying on it, or maybe the one on the pole at town pond, and was so upset he couldn't drive
PJ Delia August 10, 2011 at 01:23 PM
He violated the rights of anyone on the road or sidewalks near him. I don't care if he was drunk or medicated or whatever. He clearly was in no shape to drive and had to know it.
Gail Simons August 10, 2011 at 03:53 PM
I wonder if who he was is why "the arrest report had been inadvertently omitted". Grrrrrr!
PJ Delia August 10, 2011 at 04:27 PM
I wonder how many incidents have been "inadvertently omitted" in the past in New Jersey.
matt stutterheim August 10, 2011 at 09:04 PM
I think we need a special non-local investigator to look into how our local police can so fumble a case. It'd be nice to know how many other prominent folks get off lightly. He refused a field sobriety test: yank his license.
glory days August 11, 2011 at 12:50 AM
Its done all the time I am sure, the blue wall and all of that.


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