Video: Arrest of MSU Police Captain charged with OWI, Carrying Concealed Under the Influence

The MSU police captain had a BAC of .25, nearly three times the legal limit, and shouted expletives at State Troopers.
Arrest of MSU Police Captain O'Brien
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 4:15 PM EST
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MASON, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan State University Police Captain Valerie O’Brien has been charged with carrying a concealed firearm while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with a BAC of .25, nearly three times the legal limit. The details of her February arrest are listed in a newly released patrol complaint, which can be viewed at the bottom of this article.

Following Ingham County Central Dispatch airing a Be-On-The-Lookout (BOL) for a red GMC Acadia, traveling eastbound on I-96, Trooper Andrew Golden witnessed the vehicle traveling well below the posted speed limit. The vehicle stopped on the shoulder of the roadway shortly after passing by.

Hear from WILX’s Spencer Soicher:

More new details on MSU Police Captain's arrest

O’Brien refused to consent to a chemical blood test. A phlebotomist from Sparrow Hospital obtained a blood sample from O’Brien who was then transported to the Ingham County Jail where she was lodged for Operating while Intoxicated.

O’Brien was observed to have watery eyes and her eyelids were droopy. As the trooper continued to speak with O’Brien, he detected a strong odor of intoxicants on her breath even though he was wearing a mask. O’Brien also spoke with extremely slurred speech. O’Brien was asked to exit her vehicle and walk to the front of the patrol vehicle. After this request was made, O’Brien was staggering to the extreme right of the vehicle.

O’Brien was also asked to rate her level of intoxication on a scale from 1-10 with 1 being not intoxicated and 10 being the most intoxicated she has ever been. She stated, “Actually, I am not going to answer that.”

Trooper Golden stated that while being transported to Sparrow Hospital, O’Brien was extremely belligerent while she was seated in the patrol car, repeatedly stated “(Expletive) you”, and advised she was going to sue him. Without being asked, O’Brien stated: “I will own up to the fact whatever I blew was over the legal limit.” and ”I don’t give an (expletive) if I get fired, I don’t give an (expletive) if I get arrested for drunk driving.”

It was determined that O’Brien had her department-issued firearm holstered in a bag located behind the driver seat. The firearm was ultimately released to the Michigan State University Police Department and charges for Carrying Concealed While Under the Influence are expected to be requested.

MSU PD Public Information Officer Captain Chris Rozman provided a statement on the arrest.

As law enforcement officers, we are trusted with the responsibility to serve and protect all members of our community. When there is a breach in that public trust, it must be addressed.

We are aware of the warrant request from the Michigan State Police. It would be inappropriate for our department to comment on the pending criminal charges being brought by independent and outside investigators and prosecutors. We have full confidence in these outside agencies to handle the criminal case in a fair and impartial manner.

Like any police department we have policies and procedures in place that guide the expectations of all of our employees, both on-duty and off-duty, and any time there is an alleged violation of those policies we will conduct a detailed and thorough investigation.

At this time, Ms. O’Brien is on leave with no assigned work duties or access to university records or equipment as we undertake an employment review of her conduct.

Captain Chris Rozman

O’Brien was formerly Assistant Chief of the MSUPD, although she was demoted after spending over a year on paid administrative leave, which began in April of 2019 due to a pending investigation. The details of the investigation are not yet available.

She was demoted to Captain when she returned after several conduct violations during a Title IX investigation, including resetting her university-provided phone before handing it over to police.

O’Brien is married to a now-former detective in the MSUPD, JJ Bradac. Although the reason has not been disclosed, Bradac was on leave during the same time as O’Brien. Bradac has since left the department.

One of the more notable cases O’Brien worked on was the investigation of Larry Nassar in 2014. Nassar, the former Assistant Professor at MSU’s Department of Family and Community Medicine in the College of Human Medicine, was sentenced to 175 years in a Michigan state prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of minors. O’Brien was a detective who was the lead investigator in one of the sexual assault complaints against former MSU physician Larry Nassar.

According to Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth, O’Brien was arrested but has not yet been arraigned. She was being held at the Ingham County Jail but was released Thursday. Sheriff Wrigglesworth said the arrest was not made by the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office.

O’Brien is out of custody at this time.

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