NFL player to seek relief from charges

ROCK HILL -- Buffalo Bills safety and Rock Hill native Ko Simpson hopes to avoid a blot on his criminal record through a pretrial intervention program, according to the prosecutor in the case.

Simpson, 25, was arrested outside a Rock Hill bar early New Year's Day after police say he interfered while they were trying to arrest Simpson's friends.

He was charged with hindering police, an offense that can carry up to 30 days in jail or a $1,090 fine upon conviction.

City Solicitor Chris Barton said Simpson indicated at court appearance last week that he would apply to enter the pretrial intervention program run by the 16th Circuit Solicitor's Office.

Pretrial intervention, commonly called PTI, is offered to first-time offenders facing misdemeanor charges. By completing a program that includes at least 50 hours of community service, any charges are dismissed.

The program typically costs about $600.

Because of the nature of the charge -- a misdemeanor -- and his clean record, Simpson likely will be accepted into the program, Barton said. The solicitor's office must approve Simpson's application.

Simpson's lawyer, Jim Morton, declined to comment on the case.

Simpson was arrested after officers went to Celebrations bar on Cherry Road just after 2 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Police had gone there to help security with a crowd leaving the bar and because of a possible assault in the parking lot, according to a Rock Hill police report.

While police were at the scene, security officers at the bar stopped 28-year-old Frederick Hart for speeding through the parking lot, the report stated. Hart became angry and argued with officers, refusing to leave.

Rock Hill police warned him that he could be arrested if he didn't calm down and leave, the report stated. Hart then began yelling, "(Forget) it, take me to jail," according to the report, and he was charged with disorderly conduct.

While police were dealing with Hart, Dyann Linen, a passenger in his vehicle, grew angry with the officers and, while "highly intoxicated," began cursing at them, the report stated.

When Linen dropped her cell phone on the ground, an officer reached to pick it up and Linen hit him in the back of the head, the report said. She then was charged with disorderly conduct. The officer was not injured.

Simpson was in the vehicle and "was being verbally abusive" to police, the report stated.

He was asked to leave several times, but replied, "I'm Ko Simpson with the Buffalo Bills. I am worth millions!"

Simpson finally began to leave the parking lot. But as police were struggling with those under arrest -- including Linen, who was trying to kick the window out of a patrol car -- Simpson returned and walked up, yelling and trying to get to Hart, according to the report.

"This created more of a officer safety issue, and Simpson was then arrested," the report stated.

Simpson was released from the Rock Hill jail on a $470 bond about two hours after he was arrested.

He disputed the police report's details in an interview with The Herald last month.

After a New Year's party, Simpson said, he was leaving the bar with his girlfriend. She was driving, and he was riding in the front seat when he noticed his friend, Hart, and Hart's girlfriend, Linen, having problems with the police.

The couple stopped because Simpson wanted to see what was going on, he said. Officers told him to leave, or he would go to jail.

His girlfriend started to pull away, but Simpson saw Linen on the ground struggling with the police and got out of the car. An officer met him en route to the scene.

Simpson denied yelling about his status while in the parking lot, though he acknowledged relaying that information as he was being taken to jail.

As a high school senior, Simpson helped lead Rock Hill to the 2002 Class AAAA Division I state championship. He played two seasons at the University of South Carolina before Buffalo made him the 105th overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft.

That year, Simpson signed a four-year, $2.13 million deal with the Bills. He made $445,000 this year and is due $530,000 next year.

-- The (Rock Hill) Herald