The Huntington, W.Va., police chief says Marshall University officials have been cooperative during investigations involving athletes, including the recent investigation involving former running back Steward Butler.
Butler was kicked off the team Wednesday after he was charged because of an alleged beating of two gay men on April 5. He had turned himself into police earlier Wednesday.
“We have a very good relationship with the athletic department,” Huntington police chief Joe Ciccarelli told the Charleston Daily Mail. “To my knowledge, they’ve always been exceptionally cooperative. I’m not aware of any instance in this case or in any other case where they have been less than cooperative.
“If they were not, I would expect my officers would bring that to my attention.”
Ciccarelli’s comments come on the heels of a story by The Daily Beast. According to the report, a detective believed the school was not being entirely helpful with the investigation.
But the detective believes the football program wasn’t willing to play ball with the police investigation and that they stonewalled him at almost every turn.
“They looked at the video and they definitely could tell who it was but they wouldn’t tell me,” Sperry says. “That’s the kind of cooperation I got there.”
Marshall released a statement that said it had launched a review after hearing of the detective’s allegations.
As of close of business today, Mr. Hamrick has found absolutely no evidence that anyone in the Athletic Department was shown the video in question prior to Mr. Butler’s arrest. Furthermore, he has found no evidence that anyone in the department refused to cooperate fully with the investigation.
Similar to my unequivocal statement yesterday regarding behaviors that are not tolerated at Marshall University, I will add that any confirmed cover-up or stonewalling of an investigation by any Marshall University officials would be considered an egregious breach of conduct an will be dealt with appropriately and swiftly, up to and including immediate dismissal.
Butler was allegedly a passenger in a car that had stopped at the intersection where the two men were kissing. He then got out and allegedly attacked the couple, an attack that was caught on According to the Daily Beast, the driver of the car is believed to be a football player. He has not been identified.
As for the mystery driver, “One of the coaches who gave me his name and card told me 11 days ago that that man was getting ready to be drafted in the NFL,” Sperry says.
The driver remains unknown. Sperry said he pressed the Marshall coaches but they remained mum. “They said he didn’t do anything and they wouldn’t tell me who he is,” he said.
Following his arraignment on Wednesday, Butler was released on a $10,000 bond.
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