The Wall Street Journal has obtained a police report from May of 2007, when Aaron Hernandez was an incoming freshman at the University of Florida, before he had ever played a down of football at the school. In that incident, Hernandez struck a bar employee in the side of the head as the employee walked away after a dispute, resulting in a ruptured ear drum. The police report says that Hernandez “did not dispute” hitting the man in the side of the head. The Orlando Sentinel adds another element to the evening: Tim Tebow tried to make peace and diffuse the situation.
When the officer could not find Hernandez immediately following the incident, he interviewed Tebow and Shaun Young.
“Tebow stated that he witnessed the dispute,” the officer wrote. “… Tebow stated that he went over to try to help resolve the conflict.”
Tebow went on to say he urged Hernandez to leave peacefully and tried to make arrangements to pay the bill.
Two hours later, another officer found Hernandez and spoke with him about the incident. Tebow was present during the interview.
Hernandez, though, was only 17 at the time and considered a minor under the law. The report was released by Gainesville police because, even though no arrest was made, the police department recommended a charge of felony battery.
Bill Cervone, state attorney for Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit, said he had not seen the police report from the May 2007 incident. Cervone said he could not comment on the specifics of the case because at age 17, Hernandez was a juvenile at the time. In general, Cervone said, the state of Florida sets a fairly high bar in felony battery cases. He said it is essential for the victim in such cases to testify. It is not clear from the police report whether the victim was willing to testify or not.
Tobias, the Gainesville police spokesman, said the department released the report to the Journal because the department’s policy allows for such releases when police recommend a felony charge. Cervone said his office has a different standard for public disclosure. “I can’t really talk about a specific juvenile case,” he said.
How could the Journal completely leave Tebow out the story? The bar at which the incident occurred, The Swamp, is identified as being near campus and adorned with former Florida football player jerseys. The incident allegedly occurred when the bar employee, Michael Taphorn, confronted Hernandez over paying a bill. The Wall Street Journal said that Urban Meyer provided no comment; the Orlando Sentinel report says that Urban Meyer was already notified of the incident by the time police questioned Hernandez. [via Sentinel, Journal]
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[photo via alltimtebow.com]