Chicago alderman charged with DUI

Dixon: Wouldn't I have had to go to the bathroom?
January 21, 2009 3:01:11 PM PST
A Chicago alderman facing DUI charges said she was not drunk when arrested early Wednesday morning. Chicago Alderman Sharon Dixon, who represents the 24th Ward on the city's West Side, said she was on her way home from a friend's house in Evanston when she was arrested at 1:30 a.m. According to police, Dixon drove her car over a hose at the scene of a fatal fire and demanded officers move a squad car so she could get by. Police said she then demanded their badge numbers.

"A huge misunderstanding took place with the police. Matters escalated and fought out of control and I was arrested," said Ald. Dixon.

Police said they smelled alcohol on her breath and arrested her on suspicion of drunk driving. She was charged with obstruction of traffic, driving under the influence and failure to present insurance. Dixon spent the night in the Area 3 police lockup, but was released on her own recognizance later Wednesday morning.

Wednesday afternoon, supporters and opponents gathered outside her Lawndale office.

"We don't intend for this to be swept under the rug because if it were any other resident of Lawndale there would be much more severe consequences," said Derrick Harris, protester.

"I don't think she should be castigated for making a mistake. We don't even know if the allegations are true or not," said Bruce Jackson, supporter.

The first-term alderman declined to get into legal issues, but said she was not drunk, does have insurance and was not trying to use her position.

"Last night (I) did not expect any special treatment because I'm an alderman. I only expect equal protection under the law for all citizens," said Dixon.

Dixon did not take a breathalyzer test and does not believe she was a victim of racial profiling or any other discrimination on the part of the Chicago Police Department.

She said she believes she will be vindicated. Her next court appearance is on March 9, 2009.