A Durango man was sentenced Friday to 60 days in jail for spitting his own feces on a police officer.
Paul Kausalik, 62, stood still and showed no emotion as 6th Judicial District Judge David Dickinson handed down the punishment.
Kausalik apologized to his wife, the officer and the community. His wife was in the courtroom; the officer was not.
“The occurrences of that evening are totally indefensible,” he said.
Through his attorney, Kausalik declined to comment outside the courtroom.
Kausalik’s work as a retail associate at the Durango Post Office, 222 W. Eighth St., made his a well-known face around town. He worked for the service for about 30 years and retired April 29, said Al DeSarro, a spokesman in Denver.
Kausalik was facing anything from probation to two years in jail after spitting feces at Durango police Officer Chad Langley while detained at the Durango police station.
The series of events began early Feb. 12 when Langley stopped Kausalik on suspicion of drunken driving in north Durango. A preliminary breath test indicated Kausalik had a blood-alcohol level of 0.142 – almost three times the legal 0.05 driving limit in Colorado.
He was taken to the Durango police station to undergo a formal breath test.
Before taking the test, Kausalik asked to use the restroom. The officer twice found Kausalik asleep in the bathroom and told him he needed to take the test or choose a refusal, according to an arrest affidavit.
Kausalik eventually exited the bathroom and walked toward the officer. Standing about 4 feet away, Kausalik looked up, took a deep breath and “violently spit” the contents at the officer, the affidavit says.
The feces struck Langley on the left side of his face and head.
Durango defense lawyer Joel Fry said Kausalik was highly intoxicated and defecated in his pants at the traffic stop. He was trying to clean himself at the police station, Fry said. But he didn’t explain how the feces was spit at the officer, other than to say it was an accident.
“It’s very disgusting, not something we want to talk about,” Fry said.
Kausalik has suffered public humiliation and economic loss as a result of the incident, Fry said. He asked Dickinson to sentence Kausalik to 96 hours of public service, possibly with a law-enforcement agency cleaning cars or restrooms.
He wrote an apology letter that reads: “My behavior that night was inexcusable, very embarrassing for me and incredibly offense to Officer Langley.”
Deputy District Attorney Justin Fey asked Dickinson to impose a jail sentence. He didn’t specify a length.
The prosecutor questioned Kausalik’s level of remorse. During the arrest, Kausalik was argumentative and called officers “communists,” Fey said.
Langley was performing his duties by protecting the public from drunken drivers, Fey said.
“No one deserves to be treated that way, especially someone who is doing a public service,” Fey said.
Dickinson said there is no credible evidence that Kausalik’s actions were an accident or involuntary. He called the behavior “felony stupidity.”
“I do think the conduct is serious enough to warrant some kind of punishment,” the judge said. “I just do not think this kind of conduct can be tolerated.”
Kausalik entered an “Alford plea” to felony assault on a police officer and pleaded guilty to drunken driving. An Alford plea is treated the same as a guilty plea, but the defendant does not admit guilt to some elements of the charge.
The felony will be deferred, or removed from Kausalik’s permanent record, if he successfully complies with the terms of his 18-month probation.
Kausalik must report to jail at 6 p.m. Monday.
In addition to serving 60 days in jail, he must complete 80 hours of public service and obtain alcohol and mental health evaluations and comply with treatment.