An assault charge against former University of South Carolina linebacker Jalen Dread has been dismissed, according to public records.
In April 2017, Dread was accused of assaulting a Marine at The Saloon on Harden Street in Five Points. The 24-year-old Marine told officers he confronted three men inside the bar after his phone was knocked out of his hand, according to a police report. The men “became agitated” at the accusation, and the argument escalated until the man was punched in the face several times.
“Dread was identified by multiple witnesses,” Columbia Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Timmons said in May 2017.
Dread’s lawyer, Lori Murray, refuted the allegation, saying it was a case of mistaken identity and that her client said he was across the bar when the incident happened. Dread had no marks on his fists that would indicate he punched someone, Murray said.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The charges were dismissed in November, according to court records.
“Jalen has maintained his innocence since his arrest and was patiently awaiting his trial date,” Murray said. “After numerous discussions and multiple reviews of the video and other evidence, the Solicitor’s Office agreed with me that the case lacked merit and there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr. Dread.”
Heather Weiss, the acting 5th circuit solicitor, said, “a review of the evidence supported that Jalen Dread was at the bar, but under the totality of the circumstances and after a complete review of the case there was insufficient evidence to prove that Jalen Dread committed assault and battery in the third degree.”
The dismissal comes before a requested jury trial could begin.
The police report said two other men were involved in the incident and identified both of them as USC football players at the time.
Later, police found that one of the other two players was not at the bar during the incident, and the other, while present, was not involved.
In 2015, Dread played in 10 games, mostly on special teams. Also in 2015, he was named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll and Most Improved Freshman. Dread left the Gamecocks in 2017 after getting no field time in the 2016 season. He currently plays for the University of North Alabama.
“Jalen is extremely happy to have his name cleared and to put this matter behind him,” Murray said.