A violent encounter in Ohio this week landed an Eastern Kentucky linebacker — and former Tucker High School football standout — in jail, according to multiple media reports.
Michael Harris faces nine charges, including three felonies, after he body-slammed a Cedar Groves, Ohio, police officer during a Monday morning altercation that was captured on video, ESPN reported. The video shows Harris, who is 6-foot-3 and weights 245 pounds, lift an officer above his shoulders before slamming him into the ground.
The video, which was obtained by ESPN among other news outlets, is embedded below.
The incident began when an employee at a local business called police, saying Harris was in their building and would not leave, according to an incident report obtained by ESPN. The caller told 911 that Harris “was being aggressive, and that he did not seem to be ‘all there.’”
Harris told the responding officers multiple stories and appeared “agitated,” the report said. During the encounter, Harris “talked excessively and continuously leaned toward (an officer), throwing his arms around, and at one point dancing,” leading police to believe he was under the influence of a drug, ESPN reported.
While in the business’ parking lot, an officer is seen pushing back at Harris on the video, which is when things quickly escalated.
Harris slapped back the officer’s hand, prompting the officer to attempt to pepper-spray Harris, the video shows. However, Harris pulled down the hood of his sweatshirt over his face and tried to get into his vehicle, which is when an officer shoved him into the side of the vehicle.
A struggle ensues, which ends when Harris grabs the officer by his waist, lifts him into the air and falls over with him to the ground, the video shows. Two other officers then help the one on the ground subdue Harris and take him into custody. No one was injured during the incident, ESPN reported.
Harris was booked into the Franklin County, Ohio, Jail, where he remained Friday night without bond, according to online jail records. He faces three counts of assault on a police officer, two counts of resisting arrest, two counts of obstruction and two counts of persistent disorderly conduct while intoxicated.
According to the report, police found a digital scale and various drugs in the car. If the drugs are determined to be illegal narcotics, they could lead to additional charges against Harris, ESPN reported.
Harris was a four-star recruit out of Tucker High School in 2017, and he played at Auburn until he transferred to Eastern Kentucky at the end of 2019, according to AL.com. After being redshirted his freshman year, he played 11 games for Auburn in 2019, recording three tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Eastern Kentucky suspended Harris from all team and football-related activities following the arrest. In a statement, the university said, in part:
“Understanding that details of the incident are still under investigation, and, abiding by FERPA laws and regulations, we must respect the privacy of our students. When the facts are established, and the investigation complete, Eastern Kentucky University and EKU Athletics will decide how to move forward responsibly.”
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