Apparently, Adrian Peterson was, as he later claimed, “200 percent innocent” when he was arrested July 7 at a Houston nightclub for allegedly pushing an off-duty police officer and refusing to put his hands behind his head when asked.
Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, told FOXSportsNorth.com after Peterson’s Tuesday grand jury testimony in Houston that the charges against the Minnesota Vikings running back for resisting arrest will be dismissed Wednesday. Peterson, testifying in his home town while the Vikings are on their bye week, was one of five people to speak before the unusual and surprising grand jury set up after an agreement between prosecutors and Peterson’s side.
After hearing from Peterson, three employees of the Bayou Club where Peterson was arrested and one of the arresting officers, the grand jury returned a “no bill,” which means Peterson’s case will be dismissed. The official dismissal is expected to be filed Wednesday morning by prosecutors.
“They didn’t even answer the question whether he did or didn’t, it was a much bigger statement than that,” Hardin said. “They found that there was no probable cause for him to even been arrested or charged. Therefore, none of that should have even happened, and his case is over.”
Peterson, 27, was handcuffed and briefly jailed back in July before he was released on a $1,000 bond. He showed up for his initial court hearing several days later, proclaiming his “200 percent” innocence and with Hardin – a Houston-based attorney who had recently defended major league baseball pitcher Roger Clemens in a high-profile perjury trial – by his side.
Hardin’s side of Peterson’s story was vastly different from the one told by police. They claimed Peterson had resisted leaving when told the club was closing and had started an altercation in which police said Peterson shoved an off-duty officer and had to be restrained by several officers.
“Adrian never pushed, shoved or hit anybody, and he never used force to resist anybody,” Hardin said Tuesday. “He had a hot-head police officer that instigated everything, and then another one joined in and popped him a couple of times in the face. At no time did he ever resist arrest, and at no time did he act or give anybody a hard time.”
Peterson testified for about 25 minutes on Tuesday in front of 12 citizens in an agreement between Hardin, Peterson and the prosecutors in a rare case of a misdemeanor being heard by a grand jury. Hardin said that in Texas most grand juries hear only felonies. But both sides agreed to the hearing and wanted to present the case. If the grand jury had returned a “true bill,” Peterson would have had a court hearing on Thursday with a trial likely scheduled for February.
Hardin told prosecutors months ago that Peterson, “not only didn’t do it, but that he would never be pleading to anything.” So, Hardin and the prosecutors came to the agreement on the grand jury.
“It’s the result we expected; we didn’t know it would happen like this,” Hardin said. “It’s a little unusual to have put the client into a grand jury during a misdemeanor investigation. But we always believed, as soon as a group of citizens heard what actually happened, they would agree that Adrian did not resist arrest or do anything wrong. Ordinarily, that would only happen during a jury trial.
“So, we sort of always assumed that Adrian would have to have a jury trial because we didn’t believe the prosecutors would on their own motion dismiss the case. But I will commend them because they gave us a fair hearing. They simply let both sides be heard in front of the grand jury. The grand jury made the decision, and we got a fair hearing from the prosecutors, we got a fair hearing from the grand jury, and the result is the charges against Adrian are over.”
Through the legal maneuverings, Peterson, 27, has had no trouble focusing on football. He has been having perhaps his best season on the field after tearing his ACL last Dec. 24. The four-time Pro Bowl selection leads the league with 1,128 rushing yards through 10 games and is averaging a career-high 5.8 yards per carry.