Body cam video shows drunk, armed FBI agent at GRPD

FBI agent, John Salazar, GRPD
Body camera video shows FBI Agent John Salazar at the Grand Rapids Police Department in the early morning hours of Dec. 6, 2017.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Body camera video shows a drunk and armed FBI agent inside Grand Rapids Police Department headquarters hours after his partner shot at officers.

John Salazar, the agent who showed up to GRPD, hasn’t faced any criminal charges.

The video from the early morning of Dec. 6, 2016 was posted online over the weekend and appears to be incriminating. Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said on Monday that he had not seen it until 24 Hour News 8 showed it to him.

In the video, officers comment on Salazar.

“He’s eating 14 pieces of gum,” one officer can be heard saying.

Salazar arrived at the downtown headquarters after his partner, Ruben Hernandez, was arrested for firing at a GRPD officer outside a gym off of 28th Street — though no one was hurt in that incident.

“Did you get a call from him tonight?” one of the officers asked Salazar.

“Um,” Salazar responded.

“Someone called us. We’re still trying to figure out who called us to say he was in trouble or something. That wasn’t you?” an officer asked.

“Listen, I’m not going to answer anything right now. I have no idea,” Salazar said.

According to receipts 24 Hour News 8 obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Salazar and Hernandez started drinking at 7:45 p.m. the night before at Brann’s Steakhouse, where they bought 12 beers. Then they headed to Sensations Showgirls nightclub near the intersection of 28th Street and the East Beltline, where they bought five more drinks. They were then separated, after which the shooting happened outside a nearby Planet Fitness.

“How come you’re not going to answer anything?” an officer can be heard asking Salazar in the video.

“Well, I got to wait for, you know, I gotta talk to my superiors and everything else,” Salazar said.

Later, an officer is heard on a phone call saying, “He’s not wanting to talk to us right now.”

“OK, really?” the person on the other end of the phone said.

“I think it’s all starting to come together,” the officer said.

>>App users: Click here to watch body camera video via YouTube

Last week, Prosecutor Becker told 24 Hour News 8 that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Salazar with being drunk and in possession of a firearm.

“We have no idea what his blood alcohol level was when his gun was on him,” Becker said.

The video shows Salazar was armed when he walks into police headquarters.

The timestamp on the video shows the recording started around 4:23 a.m. Police documents show that at 5:22 a.m., Salazar had a blood alcohol content level of .116. Michigan’s legal limit is .08.

24 Hour News 8 brought the video to Becker on Monday. He said he didn’t have time to talk on camera, but later emailed that he “never knew about it and never even considered there would be body camera footage from inside the department to ask for it. Our understanding of body camera policy is that they are not turned on inside of the department.”

The other possible charge that Salazar could have faced was driving under the influence. The video makes it appear that he drove drunk to police headquarters. At one point, the video shows him get a cellphone charger from his rental car, which was parked in front of the police station on Monroe Center. He had the keys and no one else was with him.

Video from surveillance cameras outside headquarters could easily have shown whether or not he drove, but the prosecutor has not seen or asked to see that video. GRPD told 24 Hour News 8 it is no longer available.

The prosecutor said he was only looking at what happened at the shooting scene.

24 Hour News 8 reached out to the FBI, but officials there will not comment on Salazar’s employment status.

His partner, Hernandez, was fired by the FBI. He has taken a plea agreement and will be sentenced next month.

It’s unclear if the new video will lead to the case being reopened.

24 Hour News 8 reached out to a legal expert to see if the actions taken by the prosecutor’s office and the Grand Rapids Police Department could have legal consequences. The lawyer says prosecutors are given discretion, the only legal actions that could be taken against the prosecutor would have to come the Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, which he says is unlikely in this case.

The lawyer didn’t know of any legal action that could be taken against GRPD in this case.