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UPDATED: OU Running Back, Joe Mixon, Suspended From Football Activities

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CRFF confirmed serious allegations involving Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. We decided to take a moment to discuss new details, possible legal ramifications, and take a look at some of the rumors surrounding the incident.

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The University of Oklahoma announced on Wednesday that Joe Mixon is suspended from football related activities. The news comes a day before Oklahoma has it's first practice to prepare for the 2014 season.

"Joe Mixon is not reporting for team activities at this time," the statement released by the university said. "We will continue to monitor the situation."

*****

Last Friday CRFF published a report including an eye witness account from a Pickleman's Cafe employee regarding an alleged attack involving Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. The witness described seeing Mixon punch a female victim in the face, knocking her unconscious.

The audio from the 911 call has since been released. The caller, an employee of Pickleman's Cafe, admits to the 911 operator that he did not see the attack, but indicates there is surveillance footage of the incident. The attacker is not identified in the call.

Friday evening the victim spoke with Oklahoma City's News 9. She admits that she does not remember the incident, and that she only knows what she's been told by her friends that witnessed the altercation.

"He hit me so hard that I don’t remember anything from walking in the door," said the victim, a junior at OU.

"He started talking to her again, and he started being very confrontational, and he was being rude again. She said, 'Don’t talk to me like that,' and then she turned away and looked at the table," said Wright. "And that was when he just punched her in the face."

"My jaw bone, my cheek bone, my sinus and my eye socket are broken," the victim said

She says she's been told two different versions of the story, because she doesn't remember all the details.

"One is that he just hit me, and one is that I slapped him because he said some things offensive, and then he punched me," she said.

KWTV reportedly asked for pictures of her injuries, but the victim refused citing concerns over protecting her identity.

Why wasn't Mixon arrested at the scene?

Mixon left the scene before police were able to respond, and according to multiple reports police had a difficult time tracking Mixon down in order to speak with him.

Oklahoma City's News Channel 4 spoke with an officer on Friday regarding the incident, and whether or not they've spoken with Joe Mixon.

Officers went to Mixon’s dorm room but he wasn't there.

When they went back, that same official said they were met by a resident assistant, who said lawyers for the university told her not to tell them whether he was in the dorm and not to give officers a key to his room.

By Monday Mixon's attorney, Kevin Finlay, confirmed investigators had caught up with Mixon, and he was able to provide his side of the story.

Has it been confirmed that it was Mixon that punched the female?

Yes. Finlay released a statement responding to the allegations of the altercation, and simultaneously acknowledged his client's involvement.

"This past Friday morning, Joe Mixon found himself in a situation where he was subjected to both verbal and physical attacks from a very intoxicated and troubled young woman. As a result of these physical attacks, Joe instinctually defended himself against further harm.

As promised, Joe met with investigators from the Norman Police Department this afternoon. Throughout the meeting, Joe continued to be forthcoming and cooperative with their investigation.  We are looking forward to a thorough investigation and are very much looking forward to the truth coming out. As we have always maintained, Joe has done nothing wrong."

In a press release on Monday, Norman PD also confirmed Joe Mixon as the alleged attacker.

As of July 28, 2014 at 1045 AM the Norman Police Department Criminal Investigations Division continues to investigate the Assault reported on July 25, 2014 at 0239 AM at Pickleman's Gourmet Café, 759 Asp Avenue.

The Norman Police Department can confirm as previously released by Attorney Kevin Finlay that Joe Mixon, age 18 of Norman, is an involved party of the investigation.  The facts of the incident as reported to police describe an altercation between Amelia Rae Molitor, age 20 of Norman, and Joe Mixon that turned physical and concluded with Molitor sustaining injuries to her face.  Joe Mixon was not present when Police arrived to the initial call for service.  Police are in communication with all parties involved in this incident. While there is a video recording of the incident, the evidentiary value of the recording prohibits its release at this time. When Police Detectives conclude their investigation all pertinent documentation will be submitted to the District Attorney's Office for review.

The Rumors

We don't know for sure what led up to the attack, but there are plenty of rumors to wade through.

  • According to the victims own statement she may have slapped Mixon before he struck her.
  • The victim may have used racial slurs to provoke the incident.
  • Mixon may have used homophobic slurs to insult the victim's friend.
  • According to the 911 caller, and the police report, the victim appeared to be intoxicated at the time.
  • The victim may have spit on Joe Mixon.
There will be more on the possible legal ramification in a second, but there are also moral implications to consider. Mixon is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, however the court of public opinion doesn't require the same burden of proof.

At the same time the Mixon story was unfolding, another debate regarding the battery of women was taking place on a national scale. When covering the Ray Rice suspension from the NFL, Stephen A. Smith on ESPN's First Take rambled on about a woman's responsibility to avoid making a man angry enough to strike them. His statements were met with swift and severe public backlash.

As the incident unfolds from "if Joe Mixon is the accused attacker," to "whether or not he was justified in striking the female," it will become increasingly difficult to salvage his public image. Regardless of whether or not criminal charges are filed.

What, if any, charges could there be?

Let me preface this by saying I am not a lawyer. This is simply my understanding of what could happen under Oklahoma law.

First, let's assume the rumors are true. According to Oklahoma law words alone cannot legally provoke a physical attack.  All that means is, regardless of how reprehensible racial and homophobic slurs may be, they don't justify a physical response under the law.

So the only rumor that matters is whether or not the victim slapped or spit on Mixon before he punched her. Something the security footage should clarify.

If she did in fact slap or strike Mixon first, she may face assault and battery charges of her own. A misdemeanor under the law, but could carry up to 90 days in jail, and/or a $1,000 fine.

It also, most likely, wouldn't clear him of any wrong doing. Self-defense only pertains if real danger was perceived. Even then, he would only able to defend himself with reasonable force. A tough argument considering the victims size and drunken state compared to Mixon's physical stature and athletic ability, especially when you consider the alleged severity of her injuries.

If any charges are filed against Mixon, it's been reported that it would most likely be aggravated assault. The difference between assault and battery and aggravated assault is when the attack results is grievous physical injury to the victim. Aggravated assault is a felony, and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, and/or a $500 fine.

It's been reported by the Tulsa World and the Oklahoman that any possible charges shouldn't be expected until the end of the week.

What doesn't matter?

The victim's prior criminal record. Alcohol and marijuana related arrests have no legal bearing on this incident, although many will argue the moral and/or social side of this.

Who's not to Blame?

The University of Oklahoma, Bob Stoops, or their fans.

Oklahoma State fans wouldn't want the arrest of Justin Blackmon or the alleged actions of Devon Thomas to reflect on the character of Oklahoma State.

Just like Mike Gundy, Bob Stoops also has a long history of dealing with any disciplinary issues involving his football players.

The University of Oklahoma has released statements that they are aware of the incident, and they are monitoring the situation closely.