Devin Butler was arrested and charged with felony battery outside of a South Bend bar last Saturday after police claimed he attacked them. Now eyewitnesses are disputing the official story police have told and claim the Notre Dame cornerback was nothing more than an innocent bystander.
Court documents claim Butler got in between two women who were in the middle of a fight. He then shoved one woman, something eyewitnesses claim never happened. Police also say Butler attacked an officer, tackling him and throwing him to the ground, eyewitnesses say that never happened.
Butler’s girlfriend, Haleigh Bailey had the following to say:
“I was there that entire night. Reports say that everyone left the scene but I was still there and saw everything officers did to Devin.
“He was abused, and wrongly arrested. He never tackled an officer and he never intentionally hurt anyone. He had no reason to be tazed because he was never resisting arrest, and he was already on the ground complying when they tazed him.”
Bailey also claimed the reports of him tackling an officer are absurd because he’s been in a walking boot while recovering from a broken foot.
Selina Bell, the fiancee of Notre Dame wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr., also disputed the police’s version of events:
“I don’t know who they’re trying to reference him hitting or pushing, because he didn’t do that to anyone. But he was holding his girlfriend and protecting her. He 100 percent never hit her, pulled her, pushed her, grabbed her forcefully at all.”
Police claim they ordered Butler to step back, but instead he cursed at officers and approached them. Then when they tried to physically detain him he pushed officer Aaron Knepper, picked him up and tackled him to the ground. During the altercation Butler reportedly punched Knepper in the side of the stomach. Knepper was taken to the hospital and was evaluated for minor injuries after the altercation.
Bailey disputes all of that:
“Reports say that Devin did all of these aggressive things but in reality, he was grabbed by the police from behind and never told who was grabbing him or why they were grabbing him. Devin felt he was doing the right thing but out of nowhere was arrested for simply stopping an argument. He felt he had no reason to be detained.”
“Devin has been in a boot/cast and on crutches recovering for the past eight weeks. He is in no condition to be lifting weights, working out, or doing any ‘tackling.’ I have not seen him run let alone walk on two feet since the day before his surgery in June. I can assure you he did NOT tackle a police officer but police officers tackled HIM.”
“That 100 percent did not happen. Devin didn’t even have the capability to pick someone up if he wanted to. He just got off of crutches the day before.”
Butler’s attorney told the South Bend Tribune that several other witnesses have backed up Butler and his friends’ version of events and contradicted the police narrative.
Knepper was suspended without pay in 2012 after he and two other officers pressured a clerk at a 7-Eleven to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon and eat 10 crackers in less than a minute. The clerk sued the officers, claiming they humiliated him and violated his civil rights. Earlier this month Knepper and the same two officers were found to have behaved unconstitutionally when they entered a South Bend home without a warrant and tazed a 17-year-old boy they had mistaken for his brother. Though the jury found them guilty, they were not suspended.
Obviously there is far more to this situation than it initially appeared.