A Sunday morning report suggesting that Florida wide receiver Andre Debose was involved in a Saturday night incident that included him throwing someone through a window has now been contradicted by a Gainesville Police Department report confirming Debose was a victim in the incident.
Gainesville TV station GTN News initially reported that Debose was "involved in a fight" but not arrested, citing the Gainesville Police Department.
Gainesville police say Gator football player Andre Debose was involved in a fight overnight which resulted in him throwing someone through a window. He wasn't arrested. GTN News will have more on the developing story as it becomes available.
That report has since been corrected by GTN News sports reporter Phil Byrne, citing an erroneous release from GPD.
CORRECTION: GPD PIO Ben Tobias says #Gators WR/KR Andre DeBose was VICTIM of attack. GPD says wrong info was initially released.— Phil Byrne (@Phil_Byrne) March 16, 2014
This all suggests to me that someone, either with Gainesville police or GTN News, screwed up in its initial release of information. It wouldn't be the first time GPD has screwed up in regards to the release of information regarding a Florida football player: The agency released a full report on a 2007 shooting in which Aaron Hernandez was identified as a suspect to the public after initially releasing the report to ESPN in what GPD deemed a clerical error.
GPD subsequently released a statement on an "armed disturbance" involving Debose on Saturday night.
Gainesville, FLA - At 6:30pm Saturday, officers responded to an armed confrontation involving at least 2 subjects in the front yard of the house that were reportedly armed with a handgun and a rifle.
When officers arrived, they found an SUV parked in front of the house with numerous bullet holes and shell casings in the road. One subject retreated into the house but came out and was secured within moments. Investigation determined that John Mark Honeycutt W/M 7/1/90, Andre Debose B/M 9/12/90, Victor Watkins II B/M 12/20/89 and Kristan Lipham W/F were eating together in the house.
Debose and Watkins got into an argument resulting in Watson pushing Debose into a window. The glass broke, but Debose was not injured. This angered Honeycutt who retrieved a handgun and threatened Watkins with it. However, Watkins immediately took the handgun from Honeycutt and then discharged several rounds into the ground outside the house.
Honeycutt now retrieved the rifle and fired several rounds into Watkins’s SUV and into the ground in front of the house. All parties were transported to CID where GPD detectives conducted interviews. After an extensive investigation, detectives arrested Honeycutt for Aggravated Assault. All other parties were released.
This, obviously, sounds a lot better for Debose, who goes from being the aggressor in an early report to the victim in the full one. (He might not want to hang out with people who settle disputes with gunplay, of course.) But the best part of GPD's release is the final graf:
Note: Information originally released in a Sunday Morning "GPD Media Weekend Snapshot" email sent to local media reported that Debose was an aggressor, but this information was incorrect. The above information is correct.
Whoops. Sure would be a shame if GPD made communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual.
Update, 2:49 p.m. Sunday: Gainesville Police Public Information Officer Ben Tobias has released an additional statement explaining and apologizing for originally naming Debose as a suspect in the incident. It reads, in part:
The initial summary read that Mr. Debose, during an argument, threw another person into a window. In fact, the names in the summary were transposed, and I did not catch the error before sending it to my local media contacts. I did not catch the error until the wildfire had started, and now I am trying to help put that wildfire out.
Mr. Debose was actually the one pushed into the glass, and in fact tried to break this altercation up multiple times during the incident.
To Mr. Debose: I apologize that my error put your name and reputation in jeopardy, no matter how briefly. I take full responsibility for this error, and hope that the stories printed and published will correct your name and reputation. Furthermore, I am extremely proud that you intervened in this incident and likely prevented anyone from being injured or killed.
As apologies go, that's a pretty good one to my eye.