Jaguars DE Dante Fowler arrested in St. Petersburg
Former Lakewood and Gators star Dante Fowler, entering his third season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was arrested Tuesday night in his hometown of St. Petersburg on misdemeanor charges of simple battery and mischief.
Fowler, 22, was arrested by St. Petersburg Police at 9:02 p.m. Tuesday, and was released at 1:43 a.m. Wednesday on $650 bond.
The arrest report said that Fowler was driving in the Trellis at the Lakes apartment complex Tuesday night around 6:30 p.m. when a man walking in the complex made a comment about his driving. Fowler got out of his car, exchanged words with the man, then "hit the man, knocked his glasses off and stepped on them," according to the report. He then "took the victim's grocery bag, with recently purchased liquor, and threw it in a lake," according to the report, which said the victim was not injured.
The Jaguars issued the following statement Wednesday morning: "The Jaguars are aware of the situation involving defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and are currently gathering more information. The team has been in communication with Dante. No further comment will be made at this time."
Court records also show that Fowler was arrested in Miami Beach in March 2016 and charged with misdemeanor counts of assault against a police officer and resisting arrest without violence. Those charges were dropped in December 2016, as would normally be the case after completion of a pretrial intervention program for first-time offenders. Being involved in such a diversionary program could impact Fowler's ability to have Tuesday's arrest handled in similar fashion.
The arrest report from Miami Beach states that officers were trying to break up a crowd in front of the Fat Tuesday bar on Ocean Drive, and Fowler ignored verbal requests to move off the road. An officer put his hand on Fowler's arm, and Fowler said "Get the f--- off me" and swung his arm backward at the officer "in an obvious attempt to strike" him, according to the report. Fowler went back into the crowd despite warnings from police that he was under arrest, and it took "numerous officers" to escort him out for his arrest, with no further incident, according to the report.
The Miami Beach arrest came 17 days after TMZ posted a video showing Fowler watching a violent fight between his girlfriend and an ex-girlfriend, for which he later apologized.
"I am embarrassed and have apologized for my actions to everyone involved," he said in a statement in February 2016. "As a family, we have been dealing with this moment and the conflict that led to it since this occurred The video surfacing is a sad reminder that emotions got the best of all of us. I take 100 percent responsibility for everything that happened."
Tuesday's arrest came just four days after an agreement was reached in court Friday to withhold adjudication against Fowler on a citation of careless driving from a June 11 incident that caused $1,500 in property damage. The citation shows Fowler backed into a parked vehicle, and he was also cited for operating a vehicle without insurance. He also has four speeding tickets in Jacksonville over the last two years, including a $450 citation in June 2016 in which he pleaded no contest to going 98 miles per hour at 1 a.m. in a 55 mph zone; he also was stopped in Alachua County in March 2016 and cited for doing 99 in a 70 zone.
Fowler, a first-round pick out of Florida in 2015, missed his rookie season with injury but had 32 tackles and four sacks last season. His arrest comes one week before veteran players are scheduled to report for the Jaguars' training camp. The Bucs will play the Jaguars in August and will hold two joint practices with them in Jacksonville before the game, as they did last year.
Times senior news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.