Cincinnati police officer who filed charges on Bengals’ Joe Mixon disciplined

Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Mixon walks onto the field before an NFL football game against the...
Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Mixon walks onto the field before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati.(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 11:03 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CINCINNATI (WXIX) - An aggravated menacing accusation made earlier this year against Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon remains under investigation Friday, a Cincinnati police spokesman said.

“Once that investigation has concluded, I will provide an update and not prior to that,” Lt. Jonathan Cunningham said Friday.

Cincinnati Police Officer Jeff Ruberg filed a misdemeanor criminal charge against Mixon on Feb. 2 but it was dropped the next day at the request of city prosecutors.

The arrest warrant against Mixon was issued prematurely and resulted from a procedural misstep, the Cincinnati Police Department said in a Feb. 3 written statement.

Mixon’s agent described the situation at the time as “a rush to judgment,” according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The case was reassigned last month and now Ruberg has been disciplined, a police spokesman confirms.

Ruberg was issued a written reprimand and was recently reassigned to a patrol position, Cunningham said, adding that it is not a demotion.

He now wears a police patrol uniform instead of an investigator’s uniform of dress clothes such as a suit and tie.

“Officer Ruberg failed to follow a directive issued by his immediate supervision. His actions were in violation and contrary to CPD’s Manual of Rules and Regulations for CPD personnel,” Cunningham tells FOX19 NOW. “Discipline action was administered according to our discipline guidelines.”

FOX19 NOW has requested copies of Ruberg’s written reprimand and personnel file.

Mixon was accused of pointing a gun at a victim on Jan. 21 in the 300 block of Walnut Street in downtown Cincinnati, according to an affidavit filed in Hamilton County Municipal Court.

Because the case involved “a high-profile individual,” CPD supervisors ordered the case investigator to submit the case for “cursory review” before any possible charge was filed, police said in a news release last month.

The supervisors’ rationale was “to ensure completeness of the investigation,” the department statement reads.

But the warrant for Mixon’s arrest was filed without that review.

A criminal complaint against Mixon and a police affidavit detailing the allegations were also filed.

A city prosecutor said in court on Feb. 3 that more investigation must be done before a decision could be made on whether to reintroduce the charge, according to Judge Curt Kissinger.

The judge told FOX19 NOW at the time he was assured by the city prosecutor that the victim was in agreement with the decision to dismiss with the possibility the charge against Mixon could be reintroduced at any time.

FOX19 NOW requested a comment Friday from Mixon’s agent and attorney.

We will update this story once we hear back.

The president of the union that represents Cincinnati police wrote a Facebook post recently about “Joe who runs with a football.”

Here is retired Sgt. Dan Hils post in its entirety:

“We hear a lot about privilege being tied to a skin color. Truth is privilege has little to do with your skin pigmentation and much more to do with status, wealth and influence.

“Take the case of Joe who runs with a football. A few days before Joe and his team left for the playoff game in Buffalo there was a ‘road rage’ incident downtown.

“A young lady felt she was cut off by a driver and so she showed him her middle finger. She reported that the driver of that other vehicle pulled up next to her, pointed a handgun at her and said he should shoot her in the face.

“The young lady’s statement continues that she held her cell phone and told him that she was going to call the police. The male driver with the gun told her that the police can’t touch him. Well, his response might actually be rather accurate!

“A very experienced detective from the Cincinnati Police Central Business Section was assigned the case. The detective went about his work as usual. He discovered video evidence and had the reported victim in to view a photo line-up, in which she pointed out Joe who runs with a football.

“The detective signed a warrant as he typically would when having the “probable cause” necessary to go forward with a criminal charge.

“Now I will pause to pretend for a second that this was Joe who works in an office or Joe who drives a truck. Both of those Joes would have found themselves in front of judge to face their accuser. Same would have occurred if it were you or l that were accused in this case.

“However, things are different for Joe who runs with a football. There was some communication between the detective and his chain of command about a review of this case before proceeding.

“This is of course is quite unusual, as normally the detective was trusted to independently do his work. The chain of events here are a bit confusing but it was decided to pull the warrant signed by the detective.

“Nobody has suggested that the detective did not have the probable cause to sign the warrant, only that he did not get the review his bosses asked for. The detective soon found himself out of his detective’s position and in uniform patrol with a written reprimand in his pocket.

“This review process has now found its way into the highest levels of city hall. There are now more Generals than there are Privates involved in the investigation of this alleged misdemeanor offense. We have now surpassed two months since the report of this incident and no new warrant has yet been signed.

“I will not say that there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt in this case. That is not to be determined by an old retired Sergeant pecking away at his keyboard. That should be determined by a judge or a jury.

“I am however suggesting that things would be much different if the same circumstances involved Joe who works construction or Joe who is a disabled veteran and not a ‘high-profile’ individual. High-profile is how the police and city administrations explained the process this investigation is now in.

“It is pure speculation on my part, but I will suggest that Joe who runs with a football will never see a courtroom in this matter. I feel that it is more likely that the reported victim will soon no longer wish to pursue this case and will be seen driving a new Lexus.

“Now that would be privilege!”

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.