SECOND UPDATE: Chris L Rucker has been reinstated to the MSU football program. He met with the media today. For the record, I agree with this decision.
Statement from Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio:
“When I first came to Michigan State and since then, I have attempted to do things the right way. I have always positioned myself as a parent would in many – if not all – actions of discipline. My belief in young people is a positive one. I look for the greater good in our young people in today’s society , hoping to always find value even in difficult circumstances.
“I have known and have watched Chris L. Rucker for four years on the field, in the classroom, in the community and as a team member. The poor decision he made had need for serious consequences which he has now met and resolved from a team and legal perspective. It does not; however, rise to a lifetime banishment.
“Our decision to immediately reinstate Chris has been endorsed by the team’s unity council and the program at-large. This was a difficult decision. After much soul searching and dialogue with those who are vested in the program, I am comfortable and confident in the decision I have made.
“I have been asked about last year’s statement regarding zero tolerance. Zero tolerance means exactly that. We have no tolerance for Chris L. Rucker’s actions. I repeat, I have no tolerance for his actions. He was immediately suspended. He has served his civil punishment, and there are other internal disciplinary measures nobody will know about outside the program. Again, zero tolerance does not mean automatic dismissal.
“When I find something I cannot tolerate, my response is not found in some playbook. There is no call that fits all situations. Sometimes, the reason for calling a play – either on or off the field – is known only to those closest to the situation.
“I made this call, and I should be held accountable. I hold myself accountable. To some critics, it might be seen as a low-percentage call or the wrong decision. It is neither. To me, our coaches, and our entire team – the men in the arena – it was the right call for the right reasons.
“Each case, like every young man on this team or every other student at this university, is different.
“Losing a game hurts. Removing a young man like Chris from the team is unacceptable.
“My decisions can never be only about the next game. The scoreboard I most care about has very little to do with a Saturday in October. This is about positioning a young man for a successful and productive future. Again, I am very sorry for his actions and irresponsibility. It is my hope that we can forgive his actions and move forward.”
Note: Coach Dantonio said it will be Chris L. Rucker’s decision as to whether he will travel with the team to Iowa this weekend.
UPDATE: Since Coach Dantonio declined to speak on the issue at his press conference on Tuesday, there has been much speculation and ranting about what Chris L Rucker’s fate should be. I have always said that Coach Dantonio knows all of the details and has all the information needed to make a decision and we should support his decision. Read about that here.
Since I published the information yesterday, I have been contacted by many police officers who have told me that, from what they’ve read, this was “bush league” and similar to “clubbing baby seals.” I’ve been told that, although you have to be careful with drunk driving cases, “officer’s discretion” could definitely (and many times does) end this case with a different outcome. I’ve been told by other police officers that there are a lot of cops out there who “think way too much of themselves” and probably “get off on arresting athletes/celebrities,” especially considering the “circumstances of this arrest.” I have also been told that in situations like this, often times the officer will call a family member or a friend to come pick up the driver, without arresting them… especially when little to no damage had occurred.
To be clear, I am in no way condoning Rucker’s actions nor condemning the police action. Instead of just summarizing the information that I received via the Freedom of Information Act, we here at isportsweb have decided to put all of the information up for you to see. Hopefully, that will allow for informed discussion, instead of the hyperbole that has occurred without full information. I still warn you that this is just the tip of the iceberg of all of the information that Dantonio has to consider as he makes his decision. Read the incident report, the traffic crash report, and all the booking documentation here.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE:
I filed a Freedom of Information request with the East Lansing Police Department regarding the Chris L Rucker arrest. That request was fulfilled on Wednesday, October 27, 2010. According to the documents obtained, here are the details from that evening:
Chris L Rucker was the only person in his vehicle and was in the 4th parking spot from the south (Albert) of the 7-11 store near Albert and Grove. He backed his vehicle up and his left rear corner hit the passenger side door of a car parked which was parked parallel to Grove St, in the 7-11 parking lot. The parked car was empty and it isn’t clear whether or not Rucker was aware that he hit the vehicle. He then drove out of the parking lot and pulled into the first level of the Grove Parking Ramp across the street where he then parked the vehicle. The police officer that arrested him apparently witnessed the impact and followed him into the parking ramp.
In his report, the arresting police officer noted that when he approached Rucker he noticed an “odor of intoxicants from the vehicle” and also noticed “slurred speech”. He also noted that Rucker had stated he had been drinking: “1 mixed drink 25 minutes ago.” The officer apparently had enough cause to ask Rucker to do a 1-leg stand test, which he was unable to complete as instructed. “Foot about 1 inch from ground, switched feet several times, started test early.” He was also asked to do the heel to toe walk. The officer noted that he had “poor balance” and that he “stumble(d) at (the) turn.” The last task he was given before the preliminary breathalyzer test was to recite the calendar months from May to May: the officer noted that he “skipped March and April.” For the preliminary breathalyzer test, which apparently took place in the ramp, Rucker blew a .095, over the legal limit of .08 but under the former legal limit of .10.
The officer noted that the vehicle was parked and that the suspect was arrested for OWI/OUID, was handcuffed according to Policy and Procedures, was transported without incident, and was lodged at the ELPD Jail for the violation with a bond amount of $200.
The traffic crash report noted that at 0215 on 10/10/10, Rucker backed his tan 2002 Oldsmobile Bravada into a tan 1996 Buick Park Avenue, owned by an Okemos man. I talked to the owner of that vehicle. He told me he was inside Harper’s at the time, right around the corner. His sister had come to pick him up from the bar and parked in the 7-11 parking lot before coming inside to find him. When they returned to their vehicle, the police officer was already there with a man in the back seat of the cruiser. The Okemos man said that he asked the officer if there was any way he could let him go, since the damage was minimal and he wasn’t interested in pressing charges. The officer said that it was beyond a simple accident at that point and that there were other factors involved. The police officer marked the insurance information at that point for both vehicles involved. The Okemos man said that he and his sister didn’t realize that the man in the police car was Rucker until the media reported the story on Monday.
The BAC DataMaster evidence ticket (a recording of the Breathalyzer Test administered at the police station) recorded an internal blank test of .000 at 3:09am, a subject sample of .10 at 3:10am, a blank test of .000 at 3:11am, a subject sample of .10 at 3:13am, and a blank test of .000 at 3:13am. The booking sheet indicated a booking time of 3:20am and a release time of 8:02am. His personal property at the time of arrest was 1-$20 bill, 1-$10 bill, 1-$5 bill, 2-$1 bills, gum, 1-VISA, cell phone case, laces. The ID given by Rucker was his Ohio driver’s license. The only evidence taken from the scene was a “DVD from car 19.”
The interim bond sheet showed that he paid his $200 bond with a VISA. The OWI Request for Restitution showed 90 minutes for arresting, 30 minutes for assisting, 30 minutes for a chemical test and 10 minutes for clerical. That added up to 160 minutes and was calculated at $125 for labor cost. A $3.00 transport cost, a $30.00 lodging cost, and a $0.30 chemical test cost added up to $158.30 in total costs. The breath, blood, urine test report indicated that Rucker’s Michigan driver license was neither confiscated nor destroyed.
As I said in this article, I believe that Mark Dantonio knows all the information, knows Rucker and his situation, and knows what needs to be done in both the best interests of Rucker and in the best interests of the MSU football program. And I trust him to make the correct decision, whatever it may be. Your comments are welcome below.