New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was found guilty on Wednesday of assaulting a police officer in Lincoln, Neb., last year.
The jury did not take long to find Dennard guilty of the felony charge and a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest. The only relief for the former Nebraska Cornhusker was that he was acquitted of third-degree assault against another man, according to Lancaster County attorney Joe Kelly.
Dennard is facing up to five years in prison for the assault on the officer and up to a year for resisting arrest, Kelly said. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 11.
Dennard was arrested on April 21 shortly after 2 a.m. outside a bar in Lincoln. In the police report, officers stated they witnessed Dennard in a verbal altercation with another person who appeared to be spiraling out of control before they had to be separated by other civilians.
Officers approached the crowd and instructed Dennard twice to leave the area. When Dennard was walking away, a police officer observed him punch another man, according to the affidavit.
Officer Ben Kopsa ran over to Dennard and informed him he was under arrest and attempted to place him in handcuffs. According to multiple officers, Dennard pulled away and punched Kopsa in the face.
Dennard admitted at trial that he may have resisted arrest, but adamantly denied punching Kopsa.
His arrest came five days before the 2012 NFL draft. Dennard was a standout defensive back for Nebraska. He was the 2011 Big Ten defensive back of the year. Before his arrest, he was projected as a second- or third-round pick. Ultimately, he fell to the seventh round, where the Patriots took him.
In his rookie season with the Patriots he had 35 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.
Dennard is free on bond, but is disappointed in the jury’s verdict.
“We’re disappointed that he was convicted, but that’s the jury’s verdict,” Dennard’s attorney, Terry Dougherty, told the Associated Press. “Now we need to turn our attention to the sentencing phase of the trial.”
For now, Kelly said he did not know if his office would push the judge to sentence Dennard to prison time.