Kim Klement/USA TODAY

Caleb Brantley assault case dismissed

The State Attorney office in Gainesville released a statement Wednesday citing many reasons why they are dropping the case against Caleb Brantley, the former Florida Gator defensive tackle that was drafted in the NFL Draft last month.

There is little doubt that the timing of the incident and veracity of the charge were adverse to his draft status and subsequently Brantley likely dropped at least three rounds in the draft because of what was apparently a wrongful accusation and charge against him.

The State Attorney released the following statement with regard to the case.

"On April 17, 2017, the Gainesville Police Department filed a sworn complaint with the Office of the State Attorney regarding the alleged commission of a misdemeanor battery by Caleb Brantley against a young woman at a bar near the University of Florida campus several days earlier.  A sworn complaint is not an arrest but rather brings potential charges to the State Attorney for a review as to their legal sufficiency and a determination as to whether further action is appropriate.  Having reviewed the matter, including interviewing the alleged victim and multiple other witnesses, it is apparent that there is no reliable evidence upon which an arrest or prosecution would be warranted or legally justified, and the sworn complaint is therefore being dismissed.  Because of the notoriety involved in this matter, this statement is being provided to outline the reasons for that decision.

"First, the alleged victim, who had been drinking heavily despite being underaged and was initially un-cooperative and denied having even been assaulted, has little to no memory of anything involved in the incident and cannot provide any credible testimony upon which a prosecution could go forward.  Second, witnesses on her behalf had been drinking as well and have provided internally contradictory testimony that calls into serious question the accuracy of what they say.  Third, that testimony is significantly contradicted by the statement of Brantley, witnesses on his behalf, and most importantly an apparently neutral witness who supports Brantley's version of events.  Fourth, reports of a significant injury to the alleged victim are inaccurate and any injury she sustained is relatively minor and inconsistent with any great force having been used against her.  In essence, the facts suggest that the alleged victim's friends engaged Brantley in an unpleasant verbal exchange, during which the alleged victim began to physically punch or assault Brantley, causing him to shove her away.  It is legally clear that under Florida's Stand Your Ground law Brantley had the legal right to defend himself by pushing away someone who was punching and assaulting him.  While it may not be popularly approved of or morally appropriate, that the alleged victim is a female of smaller stature than he does not change that.

"Under these circumstances, there is a clear lack of evidence to prove guilt of any criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt, as required by law, and without that degree of proof it would be wholly inappropriate for any charges to be filed.  While it was legally appropriate for GPD to initiate the sworn complain, any criminal charges beyond that would be subject to dismissal by the court as legally unsustainable.  The matter is accordingly closed."

Brantley likely lost millions in his pursuit of playing in the NFL.  The amount of money for first through third rounder is in great contrast to that of someone drafted at the top of the sixth round, which is where Brantley was drafted by the Cleveland Browns.

The good news for Brantley is that he can now put this behind him and move on.


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