Hillsborough teacher accused of choking woman in a bar

TAMPA — A Hillsborough County teacher was arrested Thursday night after police say he choked a woman at a bar.

Kenneth L. Reed, 31, of Tampa, was arguing with a woman at Yard of Ale bar, 406 S Howard Ave., Thursday about 10:30 p.m. when he grabbed the woman by the throat and choked her, an arrest report states. When Reed released the woman, she fell to the ground, and he left the bar and drove off, police said.

Reed was arrested about 15 minutes later at his home, according to the report, and charged with felony battery. He was released Friday morning on $2,000 bail.

The alleged victim, Claire Shaw, 35, of Wesley Chapel, called the Tampa Bay Times after a story about the incident appeared on its website to say she was the one at fault. She shared electronic images of photographed copies of the full police report, which included her name and other information to confirm her identity as the alleged victim.

Shaw said she had arranged to meet Reed, identified in police reports as her boyfriend, at the bar. She said she had gotten "heavily intoxicated." Reed, she said, attempted to get her to leave with him, but she refused.

She said Reed then tried physically to get her to leave from the bar, using his arms not his hands, and that she fell in the process. However, the police report she provided indicated that she told an officer that she agreed to seek prosecution, claimed that Shaw had choked her to the point where she could not breathe and said he had been physical with her in the past.

"He did not choke me," Shaw told the Times on Friday night. "I don't have a mark on me. I didn't need medical attention."

A witness also told police that Reed had used his arms and at one point attempted to get Shaw into a "firemans carry."

Shaw said she contacted Tampa police Friday to try to have the charges dropped, which the Times could not independently verify late in the evening. She said she was told that, due to the nature of the charge, she would have to direct her request to the State Attorney's Office, which would decide whether to prosecute the case.

Reed is a math teacher at Steinbrenner High School in Lutz, according to Hillsborough County school records. He has worked for the district since 2009.

Hillsborough teacher accused of choking woman in a bar 03/15/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:37am]

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