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DENVER, CO - JANUARY 8: Rep. Matt Gray joins other members and guests in the house chambers as the second regular session of the 72nd Colorado General Assembly convenes at the Colorado State Capitol on January 8, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo By Kathryn Scott)

Police officers say they smelled alcohol on state Rep. Matt Gray’s breath before they arrested the Broomfield Democrat on Thursday on suspicion of driving under the influence as he was trying to pick up his kids from school.

According to a Broomfield Police Department report, Gray also repeatedly told officers that he was friends with Brian Mason, the Democratic district attorney for Broomfield and Adams counties. “Just know Brian Mason is my friend,” Gray allegedly said.

The report also says Gray “explicitly” told officers they shouldn’t treat him differently than anyone else.

Police were called to Coyote Ridge Elementary by staff there who refused to let Gray pick up his kids because they were worried that he was intoxicated. 

Gray, when interviewed by police, denied consuming any alcohol before driving to pick up his kids. However he refused a breath test as well as a roadside test.

“He stated that he has been having anxiety and panic attacks,” said the report, which was first obtained by 9News. “He was having a panic attack while picking up the children today.”

Officers said Gray’s eyes were bloodshot and glossy and that he was slurring his words and unsteady on his feet. They did not, however, find any alcohol or alcohol containers in his car.

Police spoke to state Sen. Faith Winter, a Westminster Democrat and close friend of Gray’s, who told them that Gray had been struggling with panic attacks in recent months and that it “had been a long, exhausting day.”

“I asked her if the panic attacks cause him to consume alcohol and she stated she did not know,” the report said.

Gray was marked excused from the House on Friday and then for most of Monday before participating remotely at the Capitol early Monday afternoon. He has not publicly discussed his arrest except for a brief statement on Twitter on Friday.

“I was not intoxicated, but my symptoms of anxiety and depression are such that too many people are worried when they’re around me,” Gray said in a tweet that was later deleted. “I’m going to increase my level of therapy and appreciate all the support.”

The 41-year-old is in the final year of his third two-year term in the Colorado House. He has filed to run for reelection in November.

Gray, a former prosecutor, was first elected in 2016 and has championed transportation issues at the Capitol, particularly around funding road and transit projects. He was also one of the architects of Colorado’s new paid family and parental leave program, approved by voters in 2020.

The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which is led by Mason, prosecutes cases in Broomfield and Adams counties. Gray used to be a deputy district attorney with the office.

A spokesman for Mason initially referred questions about the arrest to the Broomfield Police Department before saying Monday that the 1st Judicial District would handle the case because of the “conflict.”

House Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver, said last week that it was his “belief that (Gray) has been struggling with alcoholism for some time now.”

Gray’s ex-wife wrote in a witness statement to Broomfield police last week that she “wasn’t surprised to get the call because of Matt’s history with drinking.” The police report indicates she ultimately picked up her kids from school.

Gray is scheduled to be arraigned on June 8.

The Colorado Sun —

Desk: 720-432-2229

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul