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Massachusetts cops cry foul over DUI defense of Obama's half-uncle

Massachusetts police say they're discouraged by a defense lawyer's request to trawl through the record of the officer who pulled over President Barack Obama's half-uncle last year.

Onyango Obama, 67, was arrested Aug. 24 and charged with driving under the influence. Framingham police said he hit 0.14 on a blood alcohol test, nearly double the legal limit of 0.08.

Obama, who has fought attempts to deport him to Kenya as an alleged illegal immigrant since 1989, briefly appeared Thursday in Framingham District Court, where his attorney, Scott Bratton, said he wanted a copy of arresting officer Val Krishtal's official on-duty driving record.


Krishtal was on duty when he lost control of his cruiser and crashed into a stone wall in November, according to records obtained by NBC station WHDH of Boston. The investigation into that crash reported that  "there have been numerous incidents investigated by the Framingham Police Department over the past several years involving Officer Krishtal and the operation of a motor vehicle while on duty."

In court Thursday, Bratton said he wanted Krishtal's records to "see if there is a pattern of conduct of bad driving behavior on the part of the arresting officer." 

That request annoyed the Massachusetts police union, which said the officer's driving record was irrelevant to whether Obama was guilty of DUI.

"It's sort of discouraging," Fall River police Sgt. James Machado, executive director of the Massachusetts Police Association, told The Boston Herald

"I understand defense attorneys taking tacks and questioning police officers' integrity, but to bring someone else's record out there? What influence would that have on him doing his job?" Machado asked. "If you have motor vehicle violations, you can't give out citations?"

Framingham police Lt. Ronald Brandolini told the Herald that Krishtal, 44, has never been disciplined for driving infractions on duty.

But personal driving records obtained by WHDH reflect that Krishtal's license is "active non-renewal status" — meaning he must pay a fine or a fee before he can renew it.

NBC station WHDH of Boston contributed to this report by M. Alex Johnson of msnbc.com. Follow M. Alex Johnson on Twitter and Facebook.

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