CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – A battery charged against Browns rookie defensive lineman Caleb Brantley has been dismissed.
Alachua county court records cited “insufficient evidence” as the reason for the dismissal on Wednesday.
“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,” state attorney William P. Cerone said in a lengthy statement explaining his decision.
“I’m grateful for today’s ruling,” Brantley said in a statement released through the Browns. “I won’t take the opportunity the Browns have given me for granted and now I can shift all my focus on working hard to make this football team while also showing my teammates, coaches, the organization and this community the type of person I really am.”
Brantley was charged with a misdemeanor count of simple battery following an incident with a woman on April 13 in Gainesville, Florida but the facts of what happened remained in question.
The initial police report that was filed listed Brantley as a victim after he was allegedly pushed and punched by the woman, but 4 days later a second report was filed with police that accused him of hitting her with a closed fist, knocking her unconscious and dislodging a tooth.
During the investigation Cerone found too many contradictions in statements made by the alleged victim and witnesses to warrant moving forward with the case against Brantley and “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.”
As a result of the investigation Cerone found that “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.”
The Browns selected Brantley in the sixth round, No. 185 overall, but executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown indicated following the selection that the team was still investigating the incident and that they may elect to move on pending the outcome of it.
“Based on our information, we understood there was a reasonable chance that the charges would be dismissed. As we have previously discussed, the allegations made regarding the incident were not something we take lightly,” Brown said Wednesday. “Caleb understands that we have an expectation and standard for every member of our organization. He’s a talented-young man with a great opportunity in front of him. Caleb must grow as a person from this situation. He is now able to move forward and focus on earning a spot on this roster.”
Brantley was projected to be a first or second round pick prior to the allegations.