Other Vols clear of brawl charges
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 5:37 pm
KNOXVILLE (AP) — No other Tennessee football players will face charges in a bar brawl that left an off-duty police officer seriously injured and one player kicked off the team, the Knox County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
Tennessee sophomore defensive back Darren Myles Jr. and freshman wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers were arrested following the July 9 fight at Bar Knoxville. A judge on Tuesday dismissed Rogers’ resisting arrest charge and another charge against him was also expected to be dropped. Myles was kicked off the team.
Attorney general Randy Nichols said that some witnesses gave contradictory statements and others refused to cooperate, so the investigation failed to develop enough evidence to charge anyone with the assault of Officer Robert Capouellez. The officer, who is back on duty, cannot remember how he was assaulted, but suffered severe head injuries, officials say.
At least a dozen Vols were rumored to be at the bar and Nichols said they “placed themselves in a very volatile situation and put themselves seriously at risk of being implicated in criminal acts.”
“I hope they realize the seriousness of the risk they put themselves in, and that, at least, we won’t see any of these athletes in a similar situation in the future,” Nichols said in a statement.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said his players have been honest with police.
“They were incredibly available and cooperative with the investigators and many times were doing it without the protection of an attorney because they wanted the truth out and they wanted their story out,” Dooley said. “It doesn’t surprise me that it was resolved the way it was, and I’m very appreciative of the process. I respect the process.”
Myles pleaded guilty in August to resisting arrest and public intoxication. Dooley also suspended sophomore linebacker Greg King and sophomore defensive tackle Marlon Walls, though the two were never arrested or charged.
Prosecutors agreed to dismiss a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct against Rogers if the Calhoun, Ga., native performs 16 hours of community service and pays court costs. A hearing on the charge has been moved to Oct. 27.
“I would like to make it clear that I did not participate in any kind of fighting and did not assault any police officer or any other person during the events of July 9, 2010,” Rogers said in a statement released by defense attorney, Don Bosch. “I was present in Bar Knoxville at the time a fight broke out among other people, but I was not fighting or drinking.”
Rogers, 19, said he was attempting to leave the bar when a bouncer squirted pepper spray in his eyes. He said he was grabbed from behind, but did not realize it was a police officer until he was handcuffed because his eyes were burning from the spray.
“Even though I did nothing wrong, I regret the negative attention this has brought me, the university and our football program,” Rogers said. “These events have taught me about my responsibilities and what it means to be in the public eye.”
Bosch said Rogers, who was not suspended for his arrest, isn’t admitting guilt by performing the community service. Instead, he wants to prevent teammates who witnessed his arrest from having to testify.
“He does community service anyway as part of his experience as a student at UT. He did not mind doing some additional community service,” Bosch said. “That said, he could have had a hearing down here today which would have involved several of his teammates all day. Frankly, with their obligations as a student and as an athlete — particularly this week — that was going to take a lot of people out of rotation, so to speak, from their studies and from their football responsibilities.”
Tennessee hosts Southeastern Conference rival Florida on Saturday.