Dez Bryant avoids prosecution in family violence case

Posted Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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If Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant completes a yearlong anger management program and otherwise stays out of trouble, the Dallas County district attorney's office will not pursue a misdemeanor family violence case involving his mother, the DA's office said Wednesday.

The process is called "conditional dismissal," said Debbie Denmon, a spokeswoman for Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins.

It's commonly used to resolve misdemeanor family violence cases, she said.

"This is not special treatment," she said. "It actually proves we're not giving him a slap on the wrist. Or we could have dropped it altogether.

"We're hoping that Dez can become a better person and productive citizen."

The agreement requires Bryant, 24, not to get arrested again.

On July 14, Bryant's mother, Angela Bryant, called 911 to report that her son had hit her across the face with a ball cap, pulled her hair, torn her shirt and bra, and repeatedly struck her hands and wrists when she tried to push him away, according to records released by DeSoto police.

She could be heard on a 911 tape saying that her son "tried to kill me."

Police issued a Class A misdemeanor warrant for assault with bodily injury against Bryant, who surrendered two days later.

A family violence misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Later Angela Bryant asked that the case be dropped. The district attorney's office never charged Bryant.

Bryant still could face discipline from the NFL, and Roger Goodell, the league's commissioner, will review his case, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Wednesday.

Bryant's lawyer, Royce West of Dallas, said he doesn't expect additional discipline.

"I would be astonished," West said. "He hasn't pled to anything. He hasn't entered any kind of plea. All he has to do is counseling and stay out of trouble."

Key to the agreement, West said, was that Bryant continued to maintain his innocence. "We still say he is innocent," West said. "But to get the issue behind him, we entered into this agreement with the district attorney."

If Bryant doesn't comply with the agreement, the district attorney's office could pursue prosecution, Denmon said. But it could be a challenging case because Angela Bryant filed an "affidavit of nonprosecution," declaring that she "basically doesn't want to testify against him," Denmon said.

Bryant has no criminal record, but he has had his share of off-the-field issues during his first three years in the league, including lawsuits for failure to pay debt and being briefly banned from Dallas' NorthPark Center for clashing with security guards who asked him and some friend to pull up their sagging pants.

Taking the advice of West, his agent, Eugene Parker, and adviser David Wells, Bryant began weekly anger management classes in August. He abstains from drinking alcohol and has a security detail with him around the clock, even on road trips, West said.

"Both Dez and his mother are satisfied with today's decision," he said. "The family always felt they could resolve this matter."

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684

Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

Clarence E. Hill Jr.,

817-390-7760

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