Holmes case closed; suit proceeds
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Police in Orlando, Fla., announced Tuesday that they had closed their case involving Santonio Holmes because the alleged victim, a 21-year-old college student who has sued him for assault in a nightclub, declined to prosecute.
Even as the Orlando Police Department made its decision not to pursue Anshonae Mills' allegations, details of her own criminal past emerged -- arrests last year for assaulting a man in an episode of "dating violence" and arguing with a woman over a seat at a sports stadium.
Although the criminal investigation against Mr. Holmes is over, Ms. Mills' lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Steelers' receiver is proceeding. Her attorneys showed no indication of backing down, and one questioned the timing of the police department's release Tuesday of Ms. Mills' statement and a police report completed earlier in the day about the March 7 incident.
"That's a new report that was just ... filed. We're looking into that. That's new information. These facts have just conveniently come up now," attorney Jacques L. Cooper said.
- Battery report from the incident
- Anshonae Mills' statement from the incident
- Previous arrest affidavit
- Previous arrest for trespassing and resisting arrest
During an afternoon news conference in Orlando, Mr. Cooper's legal partner, Reganel Reeves, did not answer a question about a vague allegation made in the suit that Mr. Holmes and the Orlando police pressured Ms. Mills to not press charges.
Ms. Mills sued Mr. Holmes last week for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress after a dispute at Rain, an Orlando nightclub.
Ms. Mills accused Mr. Holmes, 26, of throwing a liquor glass at her, cutting her below the eyebrow, following an argument over a seat in the VIP lounge. She also sued the club's owners, J.J. Whispers Group Inc., for not protecting her.
In a police report that was completed at 5:56 a.m. Tuesday, an off-duty officer working at the club wrote that Ms. Mills identified Mr. Holmes as the person who struck her with a glass.
Mr. Holmes denied it and told police that a female club patron had thrown the glass that struck Ms. Mills.
Mr. Holmes told officers that Ms. Mills took his seat when he stepped away and she refused to give it back. Mr. Holmes said Ms. Mills grabbed his wrist. When he snatched it away, the report said, she "got in his face" and used a racial epithet.
The officer, unable to resolve the conflicting stories, told the two he would file charges against Mr. Holmes.
"Mills then asked this officer if she could speak to Holmes alone. I said yes and Holmes agreed to speak with her. They then walked several feet away from me and had a conversation," the report said.
"This officer observed Mills smiling and rubbing Holmes' face just moments after walking off together. Five minutes later the two returned and Mills advised this officer that they had resolved the matter and that she did not wish to press charges or get Holmes into any trouble."
Mr. Reeves denied that his client used any racial slur. As for the officer's depiction of Ms. Mills' conduct while talking to Mr. Holmes in front of the officer, he said, "Our client did not rub his face or smile with him after the incident. ... We stand by our client's position."
That morning, Ms. Mills filled out a statement to police in which she wrote: "A drink was thrown in my face. I was hurt bleeding but I refuse to prosecute the perpetrator for the incident."
The suit claims that Ms. Mills, "feeling pressured made a short victim statement incoherently stating that she was hit in the face and bleeding near her eyes, however, intended not to press charges."
Neither Mr. Holmes nor his agent, Joel Segal, could be reached for comment.
Executives with J.J. Whispers Group Inc. did not return messages.
Ms. Mills, a senior at the University of Central Florida, was charged in October by the Orange County Sheriff's Office with trespassing and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors.
A police report states that Ms. Mills took someone else's ticketed seat at the university's Bright House Networks Stadium. She refused to get up and resisted an officer's efforts to get her to leave. She was found guilty in February.
In June, university police charged Ms. Mills with dating violence, battery and trespassing at an apartment, but those charges were dropped.
Ms. Mills and a man in the residence told police that she pushed him into a wall, creating a hole. The man, who had scratch marks on his neck, told Ms. Mills to leave but she refused, according to a witness.
A court ordered Ms. Mills to have no contact with the alleged victim.
Mr. Cooper had no comment on his client's criminal record.
Correction/Clarification: (Published Apr. 1, 2010) Charges of dating violence, battery and trespassing against Anshonae Mills, the woman who is suing Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes for assault and battery in Florida in an unrelated incident, were dropped last year. This story as originally published Mar. 31, 2010 incorrectly listed the status of the case.
First Published March 31, 2010 12:00 am