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BODY CAM: Cincinnati police officer arrested, charged with OVI after failing field sobriety test

Justin Shields.JPG
Posted at 12:02 PM, Apr 24, 2023

UNION TWP., Ohio — A Cincinnati police officer is facing a charge of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) after he failed a field sobriety test and was arrested by an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper on April 14.

Justin Shields, 25, was pulled over while driving on I-275 in Clermont County. In addition to the OVI charge, he was cited for speeding.

Body camera footage from the OSHP trooper who conducted the traffic stop showed Shields rolled down his drivers side window, handed the trooper his license then quickly showed the trooper a Cincinnati Police Department badge.

CPD spokesperson Lt. Jonathan Cunningham confirmed Monday that Shields is currently a CPD officer, but his police powers have been temporarily suspended pending the outcome of the case. Shields has instead been "currently assigned to an administrative assignment," said Cunningham.

Shields pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday.

In the body camera footage, Shields explained to the trooper he'd dropped off a friend who'd been drinking and was driving himself and a passenger to his home. Shields insisted he'd had "literally nothing" to drink multiple times when asked by the OSHP trooper.

BODY CAM | Cincinnati police officer arrested, charged with OVI

After being shown Shield's badge and identification, the trooper asked Shields to follow his finger with his eyes; Shields was then asked to step out of the vehicle for a more thorough examination.

"You know your tags are expired as well?" said the OSHP trooper.

"I know that already, I work for Cincinnati," said Shields.

"You work for Cincinnati and you got expired tags?" said the trooper.

"I showed you my badge," said Shields.

When out of the vehicle, Shields complied with the trooper's request that he walk to the OSHP cruiser and participate in the HGN eye test, following the trooper's lit pen with his eyes. At one point, Shields struggled to look at the light, blinked and looked at the trooper instead.

"Stay looking here," said the trooper. "You know the process, man, I've gotta hold it for so long."

"I know, I know the process, like, I know it," said Shields.

After the test was completed, the OSHP trooper asked Shields again if he'd been drinking and if, after blowing into a portable breathalyzer, he'd pass.

"I refuse all that, you can call your sergeant if you want to," said Shields.

"I don't need to call my sergeant, why would I need to call my sergeant?" said the trooper.

The trooper told Shields he could still smell alcohol on his breath, but Shields said he was just chewing gum. Shields admitted he'd been speeding and said he'd relent to a ticket for that or a ticket for his expired tags, but continued to insist he hadn't been drinking.

The trooper told Shields he wanted to put him through more tests if he declined the breathalyzer.

"I refuse," said Shields.

"You refuse? Go ahead and turn around," said the trooper.

Shields then consented to a field sobriety test. He performed the heel-toe walking test along the side of I-275; the trooper could be heard quietly noting when Shields appeared to misstep in any way during the test.

When asked to stand on one foot for 30 counted seconds, Shields was able to reach 26 seconds before he wobbled, lost his balance and put his foot back down.

The OSHP trooper then put Shields in handcuffs and told him he was being arrested for driving while impaired. The trooper then asked if the woman in Shield's passenger seat had also been drinking; Shields said she hadn't.

"Just you?" said the trooper.

"Yep," said Shields. "Well, I haven't been drinking but my friend's been drinking, I confused the question. I have not been drinking whatsoever."

Shields was not ticketed for the expired tags the OSHP trooper could be heard commenting on in the body camera footage. He is scheduled to reappear in court on April 27.

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