Patriots' Dennard gets 2 years of probation
By Eric Olson
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard
was sentenced Thursday to 30 days in jail and two years of probation
for assaulting a police officer outside a Lincoln bar last year.
In court, Dennard apologized to his coaches, supporters, police and his
family and promised to abide by the terms of the probation. He declined
comment after leaving court.
The jail sentence is set to begin next March. Dennard attorney Terry
Dougherty said he would ask Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie
Stacy to suspend the jail sentence if Dennard complies with the terms
of his probation over the next 11 months. Stacy said she would consider
such a motion at that time.
A jury in February found Dennard guilty of the felony charge and a
misdemeanor count of resisting arrest. The former Nebraska player was
acquitted of third-degree assault against another man. Dennard had
faced up to five years in prison for the officer assault and up to a
year for resisting arrest.
Dennard was arrested just after 2 a.m. on April 21. A police report
said officers outside the bar witnessed a verbal altercation between
Dennard and another person that appeared to be escalating before other
people separated the two.
The officers approached the group and told Dennard twice he "needed to
leave the area," according to a police affidavit. The affidavit said
Dennard was walking away when an officer saw him punch another man.
Officer Ben Kopsa then ran up to Dennard, told the football player he
was under arrest and tried to handcuff him. Officers said Dennard
pulled away, then punched Kopsa in the face. During his trial, Dennard
acknowledged he may have resisted arrest, but denied punching the
For Dennard's sentencing, the court received letters attesting to the
cornerback's character from Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Nebraska
coach Bo Pelini , among others.
Dougherty said he was disappointed with the sentence of jail time,
noting that Dennard had been projected to be picked as high as the
third round of the 2012 NFL draft before the police altercation. After
the altercation, Dennard was picked in the seventh round — a loss of
$500,000 in earnings, Dougherty said.
Stacy noted Dennard's lack of a prior criminal record but said she
added jail time because she didn't want to diminish the seriousness of
Dennard's offense. Stacy gave Dennard credit for three days served. She
also ordered Dennard to perform 100 hours of community service.
Dougherty said NFL officials have told him that the league will not
discipline Dennard, whose arrest came the week before the draft.
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