Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston was cited for shoplifting $32.72 worth of seafood at a Publix grocery store in Tallahassee, Fla., on Tuesday night, Leon County Director of Law Enforcement Michael Wood said in a news conference Wednesday.
Wood said Winston left the supermarket without paying for crab legs and crawfish shortly before 9 p.m., and when police arrived at his residence after midnight Winston said he “forgot” to pay upon being interviewed.
“He was very cooperative and he seemed fairly honest in that he did not pay for the item,” Woods said.
Winston was not arrested but he was issued an adult civil citation. He has seven days to contact Leon County Sheriff’s new civil citation program, District Village, and if he completes the required amount of community service through the program, the citation will not show up on his public record. According Wood, the program requires 20 hours of community service but there may be additional work added.
“I’m not here to vindicate or vilify Jameis. … He left without paying. That warrants a civil citation for petty theft,” Wood said.
Wood said Winston met the criteria of the program because he had no prior criminal record. “It’s for first-time offenders,” Wood said. “There’s a list of minor, non-violent non-sexual offenses that qualify
As a result of the citation, FSU baseball coach Mike Martin said in a statement he has suspended Winston, a pitcher, from the Seminoles’ baseball team.
“I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon,” Martin said in a statement released by Florida State.
Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher said in the release, “I fully support Coach Martin’s decision and will also make sure that Jameis meets all obligations, which I know he will.”
Phone calls by USA TODAY Sports have not been returned by Winston’s attorney, Tim Jansen, or by the FSU athletics department. Tim Henning, spokesman for the Heisman Trust, said they would have no comment on the matter.
The citation was first reported by Tomahawknation.com early Wednesday morning, but the site did not attribute the report.
In response to recent requests: TPD has NOT had any contact with Jameis Winston regarding an alleged recent citation.
— Tallahassee Police (@TallyPD) April 30, 2014
Last November The Associated Press, citing Tallahassee city records, reported Winston and teammates were questioned by police in November 2012 in regard to a BB gun battle. The AP also obtained a July 2013 record of a Burger King employee reporting to police that Winston was stealing soda from the restaurant.
Winston was accused of raping another FSU student on Dec. 7, 2012. The two met at Potbelly’s the night before, and the woman rode in a taxi back to Winston’s apartment according to police records.
Afterward, he drove her back to campus on his scooter, she told campus police when she reported the alleged assault within hours and had a rape kit taken.
The woman identified Winston as her attacker on Jan. 10, 2013 when she heard his name in roll call in class at the start of the spring semester. Despite that, Tallahassee police Det. Scott Angulo did not interview Winston, collect his DNA or interview teammates who were with him that night.
The case was moved to inactive on Feb. 11, 2013 with Angulo citing the woman’s desire not to pursue the case.
It became a major national story in November in the midst of Winston’s run to the Heisman Trophy.
After media outlets requested documents related to the case, the state attorney’s office began investigating. Winston’s DNA was ultimately confirmed to be on the woman’s clothing, but he has said through his attorney that the sexual encounter was consensual.
Two teammates, Chris Casher and Ronald Darby, provided sworn affidavits to that effect through Winston’s attorney, Tim Jansen.
Winston was not charged criminally, but Florida State is now under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for its handling of sexual assaultcases.
The woman filed a Title IX complaint in March, and OCR opened an investigation in April. Under Title IX, schools are obligated to investigate reports of sexual assault in a prompt, thorough and impartial manner and provide equitable grievance procedures.
Guidance from the department says an investigation should typically be done within 60 days. FSU officials did not meet with Winston until late January, two weeks after FSU won a BCS national championship and more than a year after the alleged assault, an attorney for the woman confirmed.
FSU’s decision not to pursue code of conduct charges was made, at least in part, based on Winston’s unwillingness to answer questions on the advice of his lawyer, said one of woman’s attorneys, Baine Kerr.
Casher and Darby, meanwhile, face a combined five code of conduct charges related to their witnessing – and in Casher’s case, video recording – what happened.