Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges stemming from an incident in which police used pepper spray to subdue him after an off-campus party.
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Rees, who turns 20 next week, is charged with one count of battery, two counts of resisting law enforcement and one count of illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor. South Bend police say Rees kneed a police officer in the chest after he ran from the party early May 3 after officers arrived.
The court appearance was brief, lasting less than a minute. Rees arrived shortly after 8:20 a.m., sat in the front row for several minutes before his attorney, George Horn, summoned him to appear before Magistrate Brian Steinke without his name being called. Rees didn’t speak during his appearance. He met briefly with Horn afterward in a room next to the court and they then left together without speaking to reporters.
Rees, who remains free on $250 bond, is due back in court July 17.
Linebacker Carlo Calabrese did not appear before Steinke as scheduled Thursday. Assistant prosecutor Andrew White said sometimes defendants e are allowed to have their attorneys appear in their place. He said he didn’t know why Calabrese didn’t appear. A telephone message seeking comment was left at the office of his attorney, Jeffrey Stesiak, by The Associated Press.
White said no plea was entered on Calabrese’s behalf. He is scheduled to be in court June 21.
Rees, who is from Lake Forest, Ill., is one of four quarterbacks vying for the starters’ job next season. He started 12 of 13 games as the Irish went 8-5 last season. Calabrese, who is from Verona, N.J., was a backup linebacker who played in every game last season after starting eight games as a sophomore during the 2010 season
Police said they went to the party several blocks from campus on the night classes ended after receiving complaints about a loud party. Police said Rees was among about five people who jumped a backyard fence and ran after officers arrived.
Police say an officer pursued Rees, continually telling him to stop, but Rees refused. Police say when Rees ran out into the street, a passing taxi driver maneuvered his car to block Rees’ path. Police say when the officer caught up, Rees used his right knee to hit the officer in the chest, knocking the wind out of him.
Police say the taxi driver held Rees until the officer caught his breath. Police said Rees continued to struggle even after being knocked down and the officer used pepper spray to help subdue him.
Police say Calabrese became upset when he saw Rees was being arrested, ignored warnings to stay out of the street and twice old an officer: ”My people will get you.”
Brian Hardin, Notre Dame’s director of football media relations, said football coach Brian Kelly would have no comment on Thursday’s court appearance. Kelly previously said he would withhold judgment until he could collect all the facts.
Separately, the South Bend Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/LXKe0w) that wide receiver DaVaris Daniels was cited for consumption of alcohol by a minor in his Illinois hometown early Sunday. The 19-year-old Daniels was one of 29 minors cited at a house in Vernon Hills, Ill.
The 6-2, 190-pound Daniels did not play as a freshman last season, but is expected to challenge for a starting spot next season. According to court documents, Daniels was not arrested. He is scheduled to appear in court on June 14.
Kelly said in a news release that he is aware of Daniels situation and that he would speak to him about it. Kelly said any team-related discipline would be handled internally.