May 21, 2014

Assault charge dismissed against Cowboys’ Melton

The Tarrant County district attorney says the complainant, a Grapevine sport bars owner/manager, had requested that the case be dropped.

A misdemeanor assault charge against Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Henry Melton was dismissed Wednesday after the complainant, a sports bar manager who had said Melton punched and bit him, requested that prosecutors drop the case.

The dismissal comes one month after Donald Payne, owner and manager of the Chill Sports Bar in Grapevine, and Melton settled lawsuits filed by both men in the wake of the assault allegation.

“The District Attorney’s Office has been advised that all parties have settled their issues in regard to an altercation involving Henry Melton and Donald Payne without either party paying damages and that all civil proceedings have been dismissed,” Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon said in an emailed statement Wednesday. “This office has also received a request from Mr. Payne that the criminal case against Mr. Melton be dropped. We, therefore, consider all matters to be amicably resolved and we have filed a motion with the court to dismiss the misdemeanor assault charge against Mr. Melton, which has been granted. This matter is now concluded.”

Melton, 27, is a 2005 graduate of Grapevine High School who later played at the University of Texas. He was a defensive tackle with the Chicago Bears, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2012, before signing a one-year contract with the Cowboys in March.

Melton was arrested Dec. 22 by Grapevine police at the sports bar on South Main Street in Grapevine. Police have said that Melton had been asked to leave the bar at 1:45 a.m. for becoming belligerent with the wait staff. He was accused of punching Payne in the face and biting his arm during an fight that ensued.

Court records show that Melton was charged with assault causing bodily injury on Jan. 11.

Two weeks later, Payne filed a lawsuit against Melton. In the lawsuit, he alleged that Melton was asked to leave the bar after repeatedly telling the bartenders attempting to serve him “that he was a millionaire and the bartenders were nothing but poor white trash.”

He said Melton responded to his request to go by punching Payne and then biting him.

Melton counte-sued, alleging that Payne and other employees assaulted him after a bartender complained about the amount Melton was tipping and ordered Melton out. He said one of his attackers called him by a racial epithet and stated that Payne’s lawsuit was “a shakedown for cash.”

Christian Dennie, Melton’s attorney, provided a written statement made by both parties to The Dallas Morning News last month after the civil suits were dismissed.

“After sitting down together and talking face to face we have both agreed to drop our lawsuits,” the statement said. “Talking openly and directly is sometimes the best way to resolve issues. We both realize that our time is better spent on more meaningful things. No money was exchanged and we both realize we are better off as allies. We both have ties to Dallas and Grapevine, Texas and we feel it is best to put our time towards positive things for the future.”

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