FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) — President Barack Obama's uncle was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving in Massachusetts, told police he planned to arrange bail through the White House and is being held without bail by federal immigration officials, authorities said Monday.
Onyango Obama, 67, was arrested last week in Framingham, about 20 miles west of Boston, after police said he made a rolling stop through a stop sign and nearly caused a cruiser to strike his sport utility vehicle.
Police said that after being booked at the police station, Obama was asked whether he wanted to make a telephone call to arrange for bail. "I think I will call the White House," he stated, according to a police report filed in Framingham District Court.
Police said Obama, who is originally from Kenya and is the half-brother of the president's late father, pleaded not guilty Friday and is being held without bail on a detainer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In a court document, ICE said Onyango Obama had an earlier deportation or removal order.
His immigration status couldn't immediately be confirmed, but such orders are generally reserved for people living in the country illegally. A spokesman for ICE declined to comment on Onyango Obama's immigration case, and the White House had no comment.
Obama was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to yield the right of way.
Michael Rogers, a spokesman for Cleveland immigration attorney Margaret Wong, said Wong will represent Obama. He confirmed that Onyango Obama is the half-brother of Obama's father and the full-blooded brother of another relative, Zeituni Onyango, of Boston.
Zeituni Onyango made headlines last year when she won the right to stay in the United States after an earlier deportation order. She came to the U.S. from Kenya in 2000 and was denied asylum by an immigration judge in 2004.
She stayed in the country illegally and was granted asylum last year by a judge who found she could be a target in Kenya not only for those who oppose the United States and the president, but also for member of the Kenyan government.
Framingham police said Onyango Obama was arrested Wednesday after he failed to stop completely at a stop sign and a police officer had to quickly apply his brakes to avoid hitting Obama's SUV.
Officer Val Krishtal said in a written report that Obama slurred his speech and became argumentative after he was told that he was being stopped because he had failed to fully stop and yield to traffic.
"I explained to him that I narrowly avoided striking his vehicle, and he told me that he did not hear my tires screeching, so I was not being accurate," Krishtal said in the report.
Obama originally told Krishtal he had nothing to drink but later said he had had two beers, Krishtal wrote in the report.
Krishtal said Obama failed several sobriety tests and blew a reading of 0.14 percent on a blood-alcohol breath test, which is above the state's legal driving limit of 0.08 percent.
The Obama administration announced this month that it would allow many illegal immigrants facing deportation the chance to stay in the United States and apply for a work permit, and would focus on removing convicted criminals and people who might be a national security or public safety threat.