Editor's note: After reviewing the case, the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office opted not to pursue the felony bribery charge against Michael Schaedel. Records show Schaedel subsequently pleaded no contest in August 2017 to five misdemeanor charges: driving under the influence; refusal to submit to testing; resisting an officer without violence; possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
TAMPA — The officer, it seemed, had made up his mind. Michael Schaedel was going to jail.
Arrested about midnight Wednesday on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession, all that was left for Schaedel was a patrol car ride to central booking.
But Schaedel made a list-ditch effort to buy his freedom, according to an arrest report: He offered Officer Douglass Bailey $10,000 to let him go.
The two crossed paths just before midnight, when Bailey spotted Schaedel driving erratically in a black 2016 Acura sedan. He'd blocked a crosswalk at a traffic light, spun his tires pulling away from the intersection and was clocked driving over the speed limit, according to the report.
Bailey stopped Schaedel on Green Street near N Howard Avenue and noticed several signs of impairment and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Schaedel fumbled clumsily while looking for his driver's license, swayed as he stood and had "a belligerent and uncooperative demeanor," Bailey wrote. Schaedel failed the horizontal gaze test, then refused to complete field sobriety exercises.
A search of the Acura turned up a small glass jar containing about 2 grams of fresh marijuana, a multicolored pipe with burnt residue and vaporizer containing a brown liquid. All three tested positive for THC, a chemical compound in marijuana.
At that point, Schaedel was facing five misdemeanors and a third-degree felony for the alleged possession of THC oil. That's when he made his pitch, according to the report.
Sitting in the back of Bailey's patrol car, "Schaedel pleaded with the affiant to let him go," Bailey wrote. When Bailey refused, he wrote, "the defendant attempted to bribe the affiant by offering to pay $10,000 in exchange for his release."
Bailey didn't bite. He drove Schaedel to the Orient Road Jail for breath testing, where Schaedel tried to keep Bailey from escorting him into the building by pushing and pulling away. Bailey had to bend Schaedel's wrist and pull his arm behind his back to get him inside.
The offer added a second-degree felony to Schaedel's booking sheet: bribery of a public servant, according to the report.
Schaedel, who lives in Oldsmar and works as a financial planner, was released Thursday after posting $12,000 bail, jail records show. He could not immediately be reached for comment.