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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    College student suing Santonio Holmes declines to press charges in case

    ORLANDO, Fla. — The University of Central Florida student, who claims to have been attacked by Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiverSantonio Holmes, declined to prosecute the football player after the incident, according to newly released information from the Orlando Police Department.

    Anshonae Mills, 21, is suing the football star for more than $15,000 in damages for allegedly attacking her March 7 at an Orlando nightclub. She claims Holmes threw a glass at her face during an argument inside the Rain night club.

    Police made documents in the case public on Tuesday afternoon. Among the information released was Mills’ handwritten statement in which she declines to press charges against Holmes. An officer’s one-page report also indicates that Holmes told officers a woman threw the glass cup at Mills’ face.

    Mills’ attorneys spoke to the media at an afternoon press conference in front of the Orange County Courthouse and said they stand by their client’s claims. She did not attend the press conference.

    AttorneysJacques L. Cooperand Reganel Reeves also asked the media to stop trying to contact her.

    “”Our client is trying to maintain a normal lifestyle,”” in the midst of the lawsuit, Cooper said. News of the lawsuit quickly garnered national attention after the story broke Monday.

    However, minutes before the news conference began, the Orlando Police Department released a copy of the completed incident report which was previously unavailable. Details in the report appear to contradict Mills’ claims.

    OfficerDamon Barnes, a 13-year veteran of OPD, wrote in the report that Mills and Holmes gave conflicting stories.

    The report shows Holmes told police Mills had confronted him over a seat in the club’s VIP. Holmes said Mills grabbed him by the wrist and called him a derogatory name.

    “”A woman in the club then threw a glass striking Mills in the face,”” the officer said Holmes told him. “”Holmes immediately denied ever touching Mills.””

    However, police said Mills told them Holmes was responsible for tossing the glass in her face.

    The report also shows the two had a friendly conversation after the alleged confrontation. The officer “”observed Mills smiling and rubbing Holmes(sic) face just moments after walking off together.”” When Mills returned, she told the officer they had resolved the matter.

    Mills’ attorneys denied that their client ever rubbed or touched Holmes’ face after the incident.

    But police have a handwritten statement from Mills that shows she would not prosecute Holmes for his actions.

    “”A drink was thrown in my face. I was hurt . . . bleeding but I refuse to prosecute the perpetrators for the incident,”” her statement to police shows.

    Barnes, who was working off-duty at the time, wrote in the report that Mills’ friends went back inside the club with the officer to identify the man who threw the glass in her face. They identified a man, who was escorted outside, but Mills told officers it was the wrong person.

    Mills’ friends then went back inside with the officer and identified Holmes as the attacker.

    Cooper and Reeves declined to answer questions related to the police report, stating that they had not reviewed the information.

    Another issue in the case is the timing of the incident and subsequent report of details.

    Orlando police policy requires officers to file reports before the end of their shift; however, the officer filed the incident report for this case Tuesday at 5:56 a.m. — more than three weeks after the incident.

    “”I can confirm the timing of the report is a policy matter that will be administratively reviewed,”” Orlando Police Department spokeswomanBarbara Jonessaid. She did not comment about the case because of pending litigation.

    Mills’ attorneys are looking for people who may have witnessed the incident and asking those people to contact them.

    Meanwhile, Steelers PresidentArt Rooney IIposted a brief statement on the NFL team’s Web site regarding the allegations.

    “”We are disappointed to learn about the recent incident involvingSantonio Holmesin Florida,”” the statement said. “”While we are continuing to gather the facts, I cannot comment further until we have more information and have spoken to Santonio and his representatives.””

    Team spokesmanDave Lockettwould not divulge whether Holmes is facing any discipline regarding the incident. Lockett said the team is still investigating and does not have all of the facts.

    Holmes told ESPN on Monday that the incident “”will be taken care of quickly, within the next 24 hours.””

    Mills is also suing the owner of the nightclub, J.J. Whispers Group Inc., for failing to keep her safe and for allowing Holmes to stay at the club despite being “”intoxicated, quarrelsome and arrogant,”” according to the suit.

    Among the allegations mentioned in the lawsuit, Mills claims Holmes offered to pay to keep her quiet about the incident. Mills alleges that Holmes, along with two off-duty Orlando police officers working at the club, pressured her to not file charges against Holmes.

    The following is a synopsis of the attack, according to the lawsuit:

    Mills and a group of friends were in the VIP section at Rain Nightclub on Kirkman Road around 2 a.m. when Holmes, a former Super Bowl MVP, attacked her.

    Mills was sitting on the arm of a couch in the VIP section while speaking with her friend, when Holmes approached her and told her to “”get up.”” When she refused to move, Holmes started “”yelling and waving his arms”” in front of Mills.

    She grabbed his hand to prevent him from hitting her. Holmes yanked his hand away and the two began arguing. Other patrons at the club who saw the spat intervened to keep Holmes from grabbing Mills, the suit states.

    While the two were separated, Holmes threw his drink, glass cup included, at Mills’ face. She was hit on the right side of her face and cut near her eye.

    Security officers at the club took Mills out of the club because she was injured. Once outside, Mills talked to Orlando police officers and requested that they arrest Holmes for attacking her.

    That’s when Holmes told Mills that he “”was an NFL football player and could not face criminal charges,”” and then “”offered to give (Mills) money,”” the lawsuit states.

    Mills said she felt pressure from Holmes and Orlando police officers and gave a short, incoherent witness statement and said she did not intend to press charges.

    The club released a statement late Tuesday, saying the club has concerns about the incident.

    “”The alleged incident in question does not represent nor reflect the standard of behavior tolerated or promoted by Rain Ultra Lounge, its staff and management. At this time, we are still gathering more facts in an effort to resolve this situation in a timely matter,”” the club released in an e-mail statement.

    This is the second time in a month that a Steelers player is accused of attacking a woman. Earlier this month, Pittsburgh quarterbackBen Roethlisbergerwas accused of assaulting a college student in Georgia. Roethlisberger has not been charged.

    This is not the first time Holmes has been accused of attacking a woman. In 2006 he was charged with domestic violence, accused of abusing his child’s mother in Ohio. Those charges were later dropped.

    Public records show Mills has three prior arrests.

    Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested Mills on a trespassing charge in January 2008. She later pleaded no contest.

    In June, Mills was arrested on a domestic-violence charge, which accused her of pushing her boyfriend into a wall at Pegasus Landing apartments. She was jailed, but the charges were later dropped, records show.

    She was also arrested in October at Bright House Networks Stadium. She was accused of refusing to leave.

    She was jailed for two days and later pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor trespassing and resisting arrest without violence charges.


    Walter PachecoandSarah Lundyof the Orlando Sentinel staff contributed to this report.


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