ST. LOUIS — A police investigation of a suspected burglary involving Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has been closed without an arrest, primarily because of reluctant witnesses who fear retaliation and harassment for bringing a criminal complaint.
Coach Gary Pinkel announced the junior receiver’s indefinite suspension Monday for an unspecified violation of team rules. On Thursday, Columbia police reported they can’t proceed with a case that began early Sunday when an 18-year-old Missouri student said Green-Beckham forced open her apartment door at 2:30 a.m. while trying to see his girlfriend, a friend of the victim.
The woman said Green-Beckham pushed her down at least four stairs. Another roommate told police the 6-foot-6, 225-pound athlete pushed the first woman with two hands to the chest. But later that night, the two told a detective they didn’t want to press charges. A police report released Thursday shows that Green-Beckham’s girlfriend sent 16 text messages to the woman asking her to reconsider pressing charges. The responding police officer had already applied for a warrant for Green-Beckham’s arrest on a felony charge of first-degree burglary.
"Dorial was wrong in every way and you have every right to be furious," one message reads. "I’m not sticking up for him but football really is all he has going for him and pressing charges would just ruin it for him completely."
"If you didn’t want to press charges just say we all had a lot to drink and what not everything is fine," Green-Beckham’s girlfriend later wrote.
Columbia police were also investigating the incident for possible domestic abuse after the athlete’s girlfriend said in one of the text messages to her injured friend that he dragged her from the apartment by the neck. The woman later told a domestic violence investigator that she had been drinking and didn’t remember sending that message. The police report deemed her "extremely uncooperative."
A team spokesman said Thursday that Green-Beckham remains suspended. Two days earlier, Pinkel made an exception to his strict policy of not publicly discussing team discipline and told reporters he was "disappointed (and) frustrated."
"We run this program with integrity. We teach our players to be accountable, responsible people. When they make mistakes — they’re going to make some mistakes — but when they’re serious mistakes, obviously that stings. It stings me. It stings the players. It stings our fans. My job is to get that fixed. That’s what I intend to do," Pinkel told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Green-Beckham led Missouri with 59 receptions as a sophomore last season and scored 12 touchdowns, including a school single-game record of four scores against Kentucky.
In January, he was arrested along with two men after Springfield police found a pound of marijuana in their car. No criminal charges have been filed in that case. Green-Beckham was also charged in October 2012 with marijuana possession in Columbia and later pleaded guilty to second-degree trespassing. He and two teammates were reportedly smoking pot in a campus parking lot near Memorial Stadium.
Jill Schlude, assistant police chief for Columbia, told KFRU-AM earlier this week that police investigations of Missouri athletes in the college town are routinely hampered by wary witnesses.
"If you’re a Mizzou student, do you want to be the person who, to use their terminology, `snitched out’ somebody who’s this big athlete, star on campus, whatever?" she said. "There’s a lot of pressure there sometimes on the students."
An apartment complex resident who first called police to the disturbance told an investigator that several of Green-Beckham’s unnamed teammates implored observers to "not call the cops" and "chill out" to avoid getting their teammate in trouble.
In one of her text messages, Green-Beckham’s girlfriend said she feared he would get kicked out of school and damage his NFL prospects if the case moved forward, adding that, "The coaches talked to me and explained how serious this is and there’s no time to waste at this point."
The woman later told the domestic violence investigator that she hadn’t actually spoken with any Missouri coaches but was relaying their concerns as expressed by Green-Beckham.