ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – No charges will be filed against Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew on accusations he sucker-punched a St. Augustine restaurant security guard over Memorial Day weekend.
The state attorney's office said the evidence does not support the charge of simple battery, and thus it will not prosecute.
"Based on the facts and the law, the state cannot establish the charge beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt," the state attorney's office said.
At a news conference earlier this month, Jones-Drew called the May 26 altercation at the Conch House Marina Resort "an unfortunate incident."
Witnesses told police Jones-Drew punched security guard Kasim Howard on the Sunday before Memorial Day. An attorney for the restaurant said the surveillance video showed Jones-Drew punching Howard while he was trying to intervene in a confrontation between one of Jones-Drew's entourage and another security guard.
According to a letter from Jones-Drew's attorney, Hank Coxe, to the state attorney's office, the video does not conclusively show who punched Howard. It also says Howard was apparently not wearing a shirt that identified him as security.
The video, captured by a security camera on the other side of the deck, shows an altercation, pushing and shoving within a large crowd, but the men involved cannot be clearly identified.
"I was not able to identify anyone in the altercation based on the videos alone," the state attorneys office investigator said in an investigative report. "Based on the videos, it is not apparent who is security and who is not when the altercation began."
The investigator said Howard was not wearing any security insignia on his bright green shirt. The other bouncers were wearing orange shirts.
"It is not evident who struck Howard based on the video," the report reads.
"We have said all along that this has been nothing but an effort to get money out of Maurice Jones-Drew," Coxe said.
Two witnesses did identify Jones-Drew as the one who punched Howard. One witness said "it seemed as if Jones-Drew was trying to help his crewmate because he thought he may have been in danger after seeing him get in a headlock."
Gregory Anderson is no longer the attorney for Howard but was acting as Howard's attorney when he made the statement on May 30 that "any fair minded person watching the video has to conclude that Mr. Jones-Drew initiated an unprovoked attack on Mr. Howard and then literally ran away from the scene."
Anderson was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
Howard's new attorney, Patrick Canan, said he's disappointed by the decision and plans to file a civil suit by the end of next month.
"When crime has to be captured on a video, we are all in trouble," Canan said in a phone interview. "The video in this case actually helps us identify Jones-Drew as a piece of the puzzle. The reality is we have real live people who all saw this happen. We have the victim who says what happened. And importantly, no one has denied what happen."