Football players face felony charges

Harrisonburg police arrest three University students on counts of assault, battery, burglary; London issues suspensions immediately

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Three Virginia football players were arrested on misdemeanor and felony charges Tuesday.

Police charged sophomore cornerback Devin Wallace, sophomore center Mike Price and redshirt sophomore linebacker Ausar Walcott each with three counts of assault and battery by mob and burglary-entering a dwelling with the intent to commit an assault. After police obtained warrants Tuesday, all three players "cooperatively turned themselves in," according to a police report.

The report specifies that the incident occurred at an apartment complex near James Madison University Jan. 30 at 1:34 a.m. Wallace, Price and Walcott allegedly assaulted three males after a verbal altercation escalated. Two victims were taken to Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, Va. with non-life threatening injuries and have been released since then, the report said.

James Madison senior Kyle Kelly said the assaults took place during a party he helped host.

"A few of my friends that are alumni came down, and we decided to throw a party at another friend's house," Kelly said. "I was playing beer pong, and all the sudden, three or four guys barged in screaming, and they wanted to fight because they thought somebody had [directed a racial slur toward] them, and there was a big scuffle."

Kelly said a full-scale fight did not develop because of the apartment's crowded space, but some damage did occur.

"My friend got a bloody lip, went to the hospital and got eight stitches," Kelly said. "We just tried to get them out of the party. They broke a piece of trim on the door as they left."

The party was held on the apartment's third floor. Kelly said when the guests went downstairs, they discovered another injured party, whom he described as "bleeding profusely from his head."

Kelly said he did not know who the players were at the time.

"We hadn't seen them in the party the whole night," Kelly said. "We didn't invite them, we didn't know who they were. We actually thought they might have been JMU football players. They could have been NFL players for all I knew, I had no idea."

The University has responded to the news by immediately suspending the three football players from the team.

"The players know the expectations I have for them as student-athletes both on and off the field, and as representatives of both the football program and the University," coach Mike London said in a press release Tuesday. "I am disappointed in the conduct of these individuals and the fact they chose not to represent themselves in the appropriate manner."

Walcott started 11 of Virginia's 12 games last season, recording 56 tackles - the team's third-highest total. Wallace started seven games for the Cavaliers, playing in place of injured senior cornerback Ras-I Dowling. Pierce served as the team's reserve center.

"They will not participate in any team activities while suspended," London said. "But they will continue to attend all study halls and to meet their academic requirements."

The arrest comes a day after The Cavalier Daily reported that sophomore tailback Torrey Mack is no longer enrolled in the University. He previously faced academic probation, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The Jan. 30 incident was not Wallace's first encounter with Harrisonburg Police, The Washington Post reported yesterday. Online court files confirmed the Post's report that Wallace was arrested at James Madison Sept. 17 for underage purchase and possession of alcohol. Harrisonburg courts ruled Wallace guilty in absentia and suspended his license for six months. The conviction also imposed a $500 fine, which Wallace has yet to pay. That incident occurred during a Virginia bye-week, and Wallace started Virginia's next game against Virginia Military Institute. He played in each of the team's remaining games.

It is unclear whether alcohol was involved in the recent incident. Beyond the alleged verbal altercation, Kelly could not offer another motive for the players' anger or entrance to the party.

"We didn't want them at our party," Kelly said. "We didn't want to fight them. We didn't know why they wanted to fight. It just seemed like a totally random act of violence"


Published February 10, 2011 in News







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wake up
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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These players will be back and playing next season.


Johnson
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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Is it really worth it to bring these thugs to UVa just so we can go 4-8?


0 TOLERANCE
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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After George Huguely, there should be a 0 tolerance at this school for violence...its not like they just committed an alcohol offense. They committed assault. They should not be allowed back into our honor community.


Joe
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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Johnson, Coach London didn't bring them to UVa.


Nicole
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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Johnson, Y do u think it is okay to call people thugs and to generalize a entire program...you do not know these young men and therefor you have no place to judge them or to categorize them in such a manor. This article is giving a one-sided version of the story and does not give these young men a voice.

I am upset at the Cav Daily for not portraying a full story and only giving one side of the story. I also do not think it was appropriate for you do publish this in this manor. I feel like the only reason this is be publicized is because they are Athletes which is wrong. What about all the other students who get in trouble with the law? U dont publish their mugshots on the Front Page or on the internet.


Johnson
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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These kids certainly acted like thugs. They went out of their way, up 3 flights of stairs and (legally speaking) broke in to party with the intention of busting some heads. 2 kids were sent to the hospital, including one found bleeding profusely from the head. Are these the kind of young men you want representing your school? Or, for that matter, are these the kind of young men you want in your community?

These 3 have more to worry about than their team status, however. These are serious charges.

But yes, I was wrong to generalize the entire program. Most are hardworking and upstanding citizens. In my haste that is what I did but was not my intention.


Kristin
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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I totally agree with Nicole. Johnson, who are you to generalize these young men as "thugs." That goes to show you are very closed minded and really ignorant to these guys really are. You would think that being apart of this academic village that you would process thoughts before blatantly speaking on subjects you have no details about. I don't believe you were there to witness firsthand what happened. People make mistakes and I am sure everyone commenting including Johnson are not without fault.


B Johnson
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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I would be careful making an assumption of guilt or innocence on the word of admitted 'partying" student(s). Emotions run high, along with confusion fueled by alcohol and/or drugs at college parties. Let the investigation run it's course and allow the judicial system have it's day. Mike London did exactly what he should have done. He has protected the University and it's students that are under under his charge. Let this play out.


Double Standard
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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Make no mistake, they were completely in the wrong for starting a physical altercation on another campus while representing UVA. However; I believe this story is a blatant example of yellow journalism...and am not suprised given the Cav Daily's history that they would be so quick to condemn these guys. Also Johnson, last time I checked I've seen a Frat Star fight (or two or three) on Rugby road that never made it to the front page of the Cav Daily. And I'm also interested to know how a "busted lip" turned into felony charges...but NONE of us were there and know the real story. So I'll reserve my opinions untill more facts are provided from BOTH sides.


Anonymous
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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So much for this being a so-called "School" paper. You'd think this was published in Blacksburg if it weren't for the fact that its on this website. Articles like these and the buzz/conversations they create do much more damage to the UVa football team than you could ever imagine. Obviously we're not supposed to hide what happened and try to sweep it under the rug, but one-sided articles consisting of JMU fratboy-interviews and a couple mug-shots aren't how I'd imagine a more warmly based student body/University paper would handle this situation.


Anonymous
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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This article is a great example of how journalism is going down the drain and becoming subjective trash. Newspapers in the form of the Cavalier Daily should cover all available sides of controversial issues. There is no mention of the other side of the story, specifically the players' response to the accusations and arrest. It is understandable that the players are protecting themselves for their court date, which is great because they have representation, but Ms. Robertson should have at least mentioned the three UVA students were unavailable or declined to comment. It is a travesty that the editor let this biased article be published.


Brittany
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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Johnson it is very judgmental of you to call these young men thugs. You were not present when the situation occurred, and you have no information regarding the lives of these young men outside of this one situation to deem them as thugs. Also, these are three of the numerous men that are present on UVA's football team, which means that you cannot generalize a small number of students to the entire team.

I also believe that we deserve a full account of what occurred that night before we start judging the actions of these young men. I am not justifying their behavior, but I honestly do believe that the students at the JMU did more than get innocently beat up because these guys "thought" they made racial slurs, which would make all of these young men wrong for their actions of verbal and physical abuse. This story was very lopsided.

Lastly, I disapprove of the Cav Daily for putting the mug shots of these students on the front of the paper. As Nicole stated, there are numerous students who have had encounters with the law at this University, but do we bring them to this amount of embarrassment and shame?


Too Soon
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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I agree with Kristin about the "thug" comment. That is definitely the wrong word to use and no one is in the right place to call them anything. I also think that this article was published too soon without all the facts and the poor choice of words. The host of the party should not have been the only one represented. Most of the time people target the attenders of parties, not the hosts, so the host may not know anything. The 3 men and the ones targeted should have been represented better, so that each side was heard. Why is the busted lip and the trim of the door mentioned? Those can be fixed.

Also, the mention of alcohol from a previous charge was not necessary. Plenty of underage drinkers go unpublished and uncharged for their drinking/possession. I have seen police let a person clearly underaged and clearly drunk pass by without saying anything. I have seen police/ambulance bring a drunk person home and not charge them. Don't start to crack down now. Be consistent or don't be anything.


Johnson
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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"People make mistakes and I am sure everyone commenting including Johnson are not without fault."

Yes, I make mistakes. I have even been arrested before. But I do not break into people's home to attack them and send two people to the hospital.

"Also Johnson, last time I checked I


Nicole
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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Johnson, you asked, "Are these the kind of young men you want representing your school? Or, for that matter, are these the kind of young men you want in your community?"

And my answer to that is this: Their behavior in this event was no appropriate, however, yes these are men that I know personally, and I know that they are good guys. Until you know someone you can not judge them and make harsh judgement. There have been plenty of fights on Rugby within white frats, one of which I was actually a victim of an unintended punch during my first year. I had a busted lip, yet the police were not called and when I tried to file a report about it, I was told that it was not a big deal.

It is really sad that there is such a double standard at this University and among the people in this Community. Like others have said before, this story is lopsided and does not give an accurate account of what ACTUALLY happened.

I do not condone or support the violent actions of these guys, but I also equally DO NOT support the public deformation of their name and character just because they are athletes.

Everyone always says that athletes, specifically football and basketball player, who coincidentally happen to be primarily black, get treated differently and they are completely right! They are not given the same privacy and respect that they rest of the Community is given! And that is WRONG! UVA HAS TO DO BETTER!


Sean
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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This comment has been removed because it violated the Comment Policy. This post is nearly identical to other posts across the website.

The Cavalier Daily would like to remind all posters that reposting the same or nearly identical information across the website, including links to other sites, is thread spamming and violates our comment policy.

-Online Editor


Double Standard
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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I think we need to lay off Johnson a bit. Obviously the issue is way this article was presented, which portrays the people involved as pretty much demonic entities. If i had not gone to UVA for 4 years, and had knowledge of how the Cav Daily warps things (often with a racial undertone)...I may have written a similar "how dare they" response. However; the facts are that this report is biased and does not fairly represent what happened, for either side.


Athletic Alum
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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This article and the handling by the Cavalier Daily is completely disappointing. Student organizations and attitudes are the reason that we do not excel in revenue generating sports.

First, there is an assumption by the student body that athletes in revenue sports (mainly African Americans) are "thugs". Athletes at this school are not thugs, most who were recruited under Coach Groh are from predominantly middle class homes. Every time there is an altercation between black student athletes and white students they are automatically deemed thugs and should be kicked out immediately. When white Lacrosse players get DUI's and commit violent felonies it is largely ignored. In your coverage notice the shift from what George Hugeuly did wrong to the memory of Yeardley Love. It was appropriate to memorialize her but there is a now well-documented history of violence from him that was ignored and covered up by the athletic department. You all seemed to excel at putting blinder on and ignoring this aspect of the story.

Your coverage of the present issue is beyond ignorant and violates almost every theory of responsible journalism. Your publishing the comments of a JMU student is completely irresponsible. You only published one side of the argument (in this case almost certainly a friend of the author)and took everything they said as fact. You ignore the possibility that a racial slur was actually said to the football players and ignore any other potential incidents leading up the altercation. You also print this information like it is complete fact. You are interfering with the athlete's right to a fair trial in the future. The Cavalier Daily has gone beyond any coverage that a responsible news organization is willing to give this issue. You cast the "witness" as a victim when they were nothing more than a next door neighbor.

As a University community we should support each other. You have solfor d members of the University community up the river in an attempt to make a sensational news story based on a questionable first-person account. Some of the story seems to even contradict information the police department has released. Clearly someone has interviewed a personal friend or acquittance and turned it into a sensational news story.

Until you learn to practice responsible journalism you should stop publishing. I only hope the young men involved choose to file a lawsuit against the Cavalier Daily and the witness for slander and/or libel. Maybe then the Cavalier Daily will become a more responsible, more professional organization.


Anonymous
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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I don't understand why this is the Cavalier Daily's fault? They received a report that three students were arrested. They talked to the people that they "could" talk to (ie. the University, JMU students, Coach London), the students who were involved were probably not allowed to talk because they were told by their lawyers to keep their mouths shut. Learn what the law is and the fact that all of their information had been obtained either by first hand accounts or by other media organizations (ie. the Washington Post) so they would never be sued for libel or slander.


Disappointed UVA Student
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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I am very disappointed with this article. The printed version displays blown up images of these 3 young men on the front page. I don't believe this was front page material. Last year when the incident occurred with the lacrosse player his image was not blown up on the front of this paper with slander written about his name because it was a "sensitive issue" (which I would note as a codeword). Seeing that these men are athletes, and going even further than that 2 black athlete's are involved gives me reason to question the credibility of the Cavalier Daily to choose to place this as headlining news with these magnified mugshots.

Furthermore, with out the images you would have forgotten by reading the article that there was a third student athlete involved who happens to be white. His name is only mentioned within the 1st paragraph and the rest of the article continues to through in extra information about the other 2 men.

The source that was used for interview I would not deem credible. First it is not a student from out beloved University but a friend of the other people involved. The account was very one-sided. I have taken time to read the Washington Post and they stated the facts; the Cavalier Daily on the other hand added in their own extra information.

The statement about the racial slur causing the men to be upset and to disturb the party was blown off as if it did not or could not have happened. I know for a fact that racial slurs occur often and nothing is done about these instances. Therefore, I do not deny that it very well could be the reason for what occurred. Words embedded in racists history still carry impact. It is not ok for these occurrences to happen and it is not ok that our society looks the other way too often when they do.

The blurb about the other student athlete that was not involved was unnecessary. There was no need to mention his status as a student and he had no involvement in this case.

Lastly, with this report these men are subjected to be the victims. I cannot believe the Cavalier Daily would subject these men to this type of embarrassment. They are still apart of our community here at the university, and you would allow them to have to go to class each day and have people judge them on the faulty and biased information posted in this article. I am appalled!


Wha
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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wow disappointed uva student....\n1st, learn how to write and spell\n2nd, stop injecting race into this article- its not the cavalier daily's fault these men committed a violent assault\n3rd, good for the cavalier daily for exposing what i'm sure the university would prefer to cover up- its time we hold these men accountable for their actions. They are members of the football team- they should know that whatever they do will be public information and they certainly shouldn't be involved in violent assaults\n4th, how is this slander? They were arrested for felony charges- thats public information.\nFinally, Huguely's photo was blown up on the paper so just please, get real!


0_o
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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Johnson, I'm curious could you define "thug" for me?


Disappointed UVA Student
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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In reply to Wha (by the way what does that even stand for?) This is not a paper for a class this is my opinion about the situation. It honestly doesn't matter how I wrote or what I may have misspelled. Before you critique me please correct yourself first - capitalize and write in complete sentences. This University has a history (yes history) of covering up racial issues and letting these problems get pushed under the rug. This article is already racialized no need to "inject race" into the article because it is clearly relevant. Who are you to judge these men at all? His image was placed else where and definitely not right after the incident occurred but not blown up on the cavalier daily front page like these young men (please go pick up any paper on campus!)

I never said that what the men did was ok but I am saying the way the Cavalier Daily presented the story was not right. I have the right to critique that.

Go read the Washington Post or the Richmond Dispatch and you will see a very different image. They don't even have photos. Also they clearly didn't interview any students that were close personal friends (possible because they are a credible news source that wouldn't subject themselves to claim of presenting a biased image). So first open your eyes and in your words "get real"


Dissapointed Alum
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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Nicole

Please tell their side of the story, otherwise don't allude to it. Any reader of this article knows that they have their own version of what happened.

To Nicole and everyone

These men are victims??? Let's not get carried away. They represent our school (and get a free education to do so) and got arrested for violent felonies. It was picked up in the Washington Post (which is where I first saw it after several colleagues e-mailed it to me), ESPN, and other media outlets. Also, if any of you don't think this reflects poorly on our school, YOUR school, you are kidding yourself.

I also am saddened by how many of you so blithely accuse the Cav Daily of racism. I would like to believe that the diverse Cav Daily staff take their journalism endeavors seriously and try to leave personal prejudices aside. Besides, if this had been 3 white football players, do you really think the coverage would have been any different??? If so, how?

Athletic Alum

"When white Lacrosse players get DUI


Sean
(01/01/70 12:00am)
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The Cav daily is correct in saying that I posted a nearly identical couple of paragraphs on this thread after doing so on another. But that was only because I mistakenly had posted on an ancient thread first. My bad. I presume they kept the ancient post and removed this one.

The point is nonetheless a valid one.

A punch up at a beer pong party at JMU resulting in a fat lip gets front page top left coverage - with mug shots and all. Were the mug shots really all that necessary, Cav Daily? Did these guys really deserve the George Huguely treatment? MAYBE they did, but you don't know all the details yet. You took the words of the guy running that party like they were Gospel. I'm betting there are differing views of what happened, none of which you presented. Maybe they are indeed thugs who went on a drunken rampage and attacked innocent people half their size. Maybe they were attacked first, and won a fight giving better than they got. We don't know that - yet.

Meanwhile, the very local story of health care workers on Hydraulic road trying to help pimp out 14 year old girls and caught on videotape trying to share in the profits of child sex trafficking is apparently of no interest to the Cavalier Daily. Nearly a week later, and not a word. Not a story, or so it seems.

Priorities much?



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