College linebacker charged with assault for bodyslamming a cop
Officers tried to diffuse the confrontation, believing Michael Harris was in a mental health crisis or under the influence of drugs
An Eastern Kentucky University linebacker was arrested and charged with assault of a police officer after bodyslamming him to the ground.
Michael Harris, a 2019 transfer from Auburn, faces obstructing official business, assault, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct in the Feb. 10th incident in Grove City, Ohio. Harris has also been suspended from the football team, according to ESPN.
VIDEO: Dashcam footage released by Ohio police shows Michael Harris picking up one officer and slamming him to the ground before toppling over. See full story here—> https://t.co/ScqAqJEKF5 pic.twitter.com/cyFPyMpDxh
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) February 13, 2020
Police were responding to a call from an employee at a local business who told officers Harris wouldn’t leave their building and was “being aggressive” and that he didn’t appear to be “all there.”
When police arrived they found Harris near his vehicle, appearing to be “agitated” and “not able to stand still… and… not able to stick to one story,” Grove City Police Lt. Eric Scott told ESPN. Harris allegedly refused to give officers his name and tried to get inside his vehicle despite instructions from officers to stay outside, Scott said.
“He’s going through what we would call his progression of force, and they exercised extreme patience, but recognize when he goes for the car, that’s a deal-breaker,” Scott told ESPN. “We can’t have that. The concern is that this person is either in a mental health crisis or under the influence of a drug. Because of his behavior, it was clear that that would be unsafe.”
Scott said Harris became “increasingly aggressive,” and when officers tried to restrain him, he allegedly “smacked” the officer’s hand away, causing the officer to move in to try and make an arrest. It was then that Harris allegedly lifted the officer in the air above his shoulders before both men came crashing to the ground, ESPN reported.
“One of the officers who was there is a very strong man, and he said, ‘I cannot believe the strength this man had,” Scott told ESPN.
Police allegedly recovered a digital scale and various drugs in Harris’ car.
EKU officials released a statement following the arrest saying the school is “actively monitoring” the incident.
“Mr. Harris is currently enrolled at EKU and listed as a redshirt sophomore on the EKU football roster. He has been suspended from all team and football-related activities at this time,” the statement read. “Understanding that details of the incident are still under investigation, and, abiding by FERPA laws and regulations, we must respect the privacy of our students. When the facts are established, and the investigation complete, Eastern Kentucky University and EKU Athletics will decide how to move forward responsibly.”
In Ohio, an assault against a police officer is a felony, according to Lt. Scott. Police may add additional charges against Harris depending on lab results of the drugs found in the vehicle, Scott said.