A Florida state attorney said Monday that his office won't decide before the start of Thursday night's NFL draft whether former Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley will be formally charged with misdemeanor simple battery.
Brantley, who is considered a potential second-round pick in the draft, is accused of striking a woman and knocking her unconscious during a dispute at a bar in Gainesville, Florida, on April 13.
On Friday, Gainesville Police charged him with misdemeanor simple battery in a sworn complaint filed with the state attorney's office. The state attorney's office will decide whether there's enough evidence for the case to proceed against him.
"I don't care about the NFL draft, and I don't believe there's any way we will make a decision before Thursday," state attorney Bill Cervone said. "The police filed their report with us Friday and we're trying to figure out what's what."
Brantley entered a not guilty plea Monday to the misdemeanor simple battery charge brought by the police, according to Alachua County court records.
According to the sworn complaint, a woman told police that the 6-foot-2, 307-pound Brantley made crude comments toward her during an argument at a bar on April 13, and she then pushed him. The complaint said Brantley responded by "striking [her] in the face knocking her unconscious."
The complaint said the woman, who is 5-foot-6 and 120 pounds, suffered dental injuries that "displaced a tooth and will require a root canal." The complaint also said Brantley's "use of force was clearly out of retaliation and not self-defense. Additionally, the intensity of [his] force far exceeded what was reasonable or necessary."
A witness, who told police that she was standing next to the alleged victim during the dispute, said in the complaint that Brantley knocked the woman unconscious. Another woman who told police she was there said she saw Brantley "strike the [woman] in the face with a closed fist knocking [her] unconscious." The complaint said the second female witness identified Brantley from a photo lineup as the man who threw the punch.
In a statement provided to the Gainesville (Florida) Sun, Brantley's attorneys described his version of the incident, saying he was sober and went to the bar to pick up a friend. Once inside the bar, according to the statement, Brantley was accosted by a group of women, who peppered him with lewd suggestions.
As Brantley attempted to leave, "one of them stepped forward and punch[ed] him in the mouth with no warning," attorney Amy Osteryoung's version of events said.
"Mr. Brantley, in reaction to that sudden occurrence, put out his right arm in an attempt to push away his attacker. His hand made contact with her face due to his reflex reaction," Osteryoung wrote in the statement.
Brantley, 22, from Crescent City, Florida, is ranked as the No. 4 defensive tackle and the No. 55 NFL draft prospect overall by ESPN's Scouts Inc. He started 21 games for the Gators during his career. He had 20 tackles for loss and 5½ sacks the past two seasons combined.