CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – A University of Miami football player is making some serious accusations against police.
Mark Walton claims he was lured to a home and cops were waiting to arrest him on bogus charges.
“I’m grateful to be back on the team. I’m happy to know this is over with,” Walton said at a press conference Wednesday.
Walton is relieved to be back on the UM football team after all charges were dropped in his April 23rd arrest.
Walton was charged with DUI and driving with a suspended license.
His attorney is now leveling some strong accusation against Miami police.
“It doesn’t seem like proper procedures were followed,” Joey McCall said. “And it seems like when those proper procedures were not followed, there were steps to cover up the information and the reasons for why.”
McCall is calling Walton a victim of a warrant-less sting operation that was also not authorized by the involved officers’ supervisors.
According to McCall, the day before his arrest, Walton’s vehicle was almost struck by a woman near SW 27th Ave. and 27th St.
The woman, who’s not being identified by law enforcement or the attorney, pulled over after Walton signaled her to get her attention.
Walton said she appeared to be drunk.
“The young woman was very apologetic and was thankful that Mark brought it to her attention and begged her not to call the police,” McCall said.
Walton said he agreed to follow the woman home and make sure she got there OK.
In the end, the woman – thankful for his help – asked for Walton’s number.
But according to the incident report, the woman contacted police and told them Walton pulled her over, pretending to be a police officer.
Walton’s attorney claims that’s what prompted police to lure Walton over to the woman’s home where he was eventually arrested.
“The police officers that were there at the house were instructing her what to say and what to message in order to have Mark come over there,” McCall said.
When Walton showed up to her place, he said a police officer wearing dark clothing came out of the house. Other officers then rushed him.
“That was the first thing in my head… everything that I worked for was going down the drain,” Walton said. “The reason I didn’t know what I was going to jail for.”
According to the arrest affidavit, his breath smelled of alcohol, he had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and nearly lost his balance when exiting his vehicle.
Walton was given a breathalyzer test, where the 19-year-old blew levels of 0.059 and 0.060. Those numbers are under the Florida limits for those 21 and older, but for under-aged drinkers the limit in Florida is 0.02.
But his levels, according to the memo, did not meet the presumption he was impaired meaning the state had a heavier burden of proof.
“Had the Defendant’s breath reading been at a .08 or above, there would be a legal presumption that the Defendant was impaired. Had the Defendant provided a breath sample under a .05, there would be a legal presumption that the Defendant was not impaired. Because the Defendant provided a breath sample above a .05 but below a .08, there was no presumption of impairment,” according to the close out memo.
Walton was charged with DUI and driving with a suspended license and was suspended by the football team.
City of Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes released a lengthy statement after Monday’s announcement from the state attorney’s office that charges were being dropped. The statement read in part:
“The declination to file criminal charges as a function of prosecutorial discretion should not be used to presume wrongdoing on the part of the Miami Police Department or any of its officers.”