GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WGFL) — Gainesville police are now recommending the State Attorney's office charge former Florida Gators lineman Caleb Brantley with misdemeanor assault after he reportedly struck a woman outside of a club.
With just four days until Brantley was expected to go as high in the first round of the NFL Draft, his attorneys have released a three-page statement saying the player is the victim.
Brantley, 22, was listed as the victim in the initial report after the April 13th incident outside Fat Daddy's Bar. The initial report said the woman, Chelsea Austin, admitted to hitting Brantley first after he disrespected her, and that Brantley admitted to pushing her out of his space. No charges were filed at the time.
A spokesman for the State Attorney now says they are reviewing the case at the police department's recommendation.
On Sunday Austin's attorney, Michael E. Williams, released a statement denying Austin hit Brantley. He called the report "a falsified report."
Gainesville Police spokesman Ben Tobias responded Monday in a statement by saying, "This is quite a bold allegation and is simply absurd."
Tobias said the initial report described what was known to officers at the time and that a follow up led to new witnesses who confirmed the woman was knocked unconscious. Tobias released a sworn statement from a witness stating the woman sustained dental injuries and will require a root canal. It says Brantley's "use of force was clearly out of retaliation and not self defense."
Given the new information, Tobias said police recommended charges of misdemeanor battery to the State Attorney.
Darry Lloyd, deputy chief investigator for the State Attorney's Office, said Monday that Brantley has not been charged. He said the sworn complaint has been assigned to an assistant state attorney to review and speak to witnesses. "We'll make a charging decision at that point," Lloyd said.
Brantley's attorneys on Monday insisted the football player did nothing wrong. "Brantley is the victim and he is still being victimized," Huntley Johnson said.
A second attorney, Amy Osteryoung, issued a three-page statement Monday that says Brantley went to the bar that night at 1:30 a.m. to give a ride home.
Here's their version of events:
Brantley waited for the woman by talking to a couple of teammates and the security guard. He entered the bar when a woman asked him if she could have "an appointment" with him.
His attorneys say Brantley declined and the woman returned to her friends. They say several women came back and taunted him, prompting Brantley to leave the building.
That's when they say one of the women punched him in the mouth with no warning.
"Mr. Brantley, in reaction to that sudden occurrence, put out his right arm in an attempt to push away his attacker. His hand made contact with her face due to his reflex reaction," Osteryoung wrote.
She said friends pulled Brantley away from the scene and police arrived almost immediately.
Osteryoung said there's video of Austin and two of her friends leaving the scene. "One of these women went so far as to say, 'Thank you guys, I'm sorry' to a group of Mr. Brantley's friends regarding what had occurred as they were leaving the scene."
Osteryoung emphasized that Brantley had not been drinking and was not the aggressor.
Williams on Monday clarified his statement to say that he in no way was insinuating that police falsified the report, only that false information was included in the report.
Williams said Austin "has been the victim of numerous hateful comments and pressure from social media to drop charges. Ms. Austin wants this harassment to stop and to be able to get back to life as it was before the incident."
Freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort also tweeted support for Brantley, calling the allegations "A Lie."