Cincinnati cop stripped of police powers after 2nd OVI arrest in 4 years

Published: Jun. 12, 2017 at 5:11 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2017 at 6:32 AM EDT
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LOCKLAND, OH (FOX19) - A Cincinnati police officer facing his second OVI charge in four years has been stripped of his police powers and put on desk duty, a police spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

Officer Eric Gilbert, 44, was taken into custody early Sunday when an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper saw his blue 2008 BMW swerving on northbound Interstate 75 near the Shepherd Lane exit, said Sgt. Matthew Beccaccio.

Gilbert refused to undergo chemical testing just after 4 a.m. and was arrested, he said. In Ohio, it is against the law to refuse a chemical test for OVI when asked by a law enforcement officer.

A motorist who refuses a chemical test in Ohio will receive a one-year license suspension, according to the state's Department of Public Safety. After 30 days, they can petition the court for driving privileges.

After his arrest, Gilbert was driven to the patrol's post in Blue Ash, cited for OVI and released to a sober driver, according to Beccaccio.

A copy of the cruiser camera video from the traffic stop remains unavailable Tuesday, according to the state patrol.

Gilbert is scheduled to appear Friday in Hamilton County Municipal Court on charges of OVI and a marked lane violatoin, his ticket shows.

He is not available for comment, a police spokeswoman wrote in an email to FOX19 NOW Tuesday.

"The arrest was made as a result of a state trooper witnessing Officer Gilbert making a marked lane violation. He is charged with one misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs – OVI (Section 4511.19), and one count of driving in marked lanes (Section 4511.33)," wrote Tiffaney Hardy.

When asked if Gilbert will be permitted to drive police vehicles if he gets driving privileges for work when he goes to court later this week, Hardy wrote: "This will depend on the outcome of the case."

This is not the first time Gilbert has been charged with OVI, court records show.

His first offense, in Fairfield back in 2013, was reduced to reckless operation, according to local and state records.

Gilbert was fined $500 plus court costs, sentenced to 30 days in jail with all days suspended and put on six months non-reporting probation, court officials said Monday.

In 2014, Fairfield police charged Gilbert with disorderly conduct while intoxicated, court records state. That was amended to minor misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Fairfield Police Officer Martin Morgan wrote in Gilbert's arrest report he spotted Gilbert staggering on the sidewalk/grass and got out to check on him just after 3 a.m. April 25, 2014.

Gilbert "had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage" and "admitted he was intoxicated," the report states. Gilbert told police he was coming from a birthday party and then he told them he was coming from a retirement party.

According to the arrest report, Gilbert told police he was going to meet a friend who was taking him home.

Police advised him to get a ride home because it was unsafe for him to walk.They told him he had two options: get a cab from where they stood or go into the Waffle House, get some coffee and wait for his ride.

"I explained to Mr. Gilbert that this was the second time I had contact with him and both times he was having an issue with alcohol,' police wrote in his arrest report.

Gilbert told police he would go to Waffle House and wait for his ride, the report states. Police warned him they would give him a summons if he walked past Waffle House in an attempt to walk home.

Gilbert told police he understood, but they observed him not stop at the Waffle House, his arrest report shows. Gilbert walked up to police and was arrested. They drove him to the police station.

"He repeatedly stated that officers should not do this to each other," Officer Morgan wrote in Gilbert's arrest report.

"I told him that I agree, that he should not put us in this situation. He stated he thought we were 'out to get him.' I explained that he staggered right in front of me. I also told him that we cared for his welfare and did not want to see him get hit. A cab was called and he was released on a summons."

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