July 24, 2012

Lawyer says Bryant didn't commit family violence

The receiver and his mother, Angela Bryant, give a show of solidarity.

DALLAS -- In an effort to put allegations of family violence behind them, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and his mother Angela Bryant made an appearance together at the office of Dallas attorney Royce West.

Neither Bryant nor his mother spoke but were there to show unity and ask that prosecutors not pursue charges stemming from Bryant's July 16 arrest for misdemeanor family violence.

"I would love to make a statement, but I can't," Dez Bryant said as he left. "I can't."

West, who is Bryant's attorney, was the only one who spoke at the news conference that lasted no more than two minutes.

"Did a family disagreement occur? Yes," West said in reading a prepared statement. "Did Dez Bryant commit family violence against his mother? No. They are here together today to show they do love and support each other, just as much as they did before the incident a week ago. But like all families, the Bryants have disagreements.

"Mr. Bryant and his family understand the serious nature of family violence. They believe that when all the facts are reviewed, Mr. Bryant will be cleared of any allegations of family violence."

Bryant's mother had accused him of assaulting her. She told police that he hit her in the face with a baseball cap, tore her shirt and bra and bruised her arms.

She was heard on the 911 tape saying that Bryant was trying to kill her and she wanted to "put an end to it. I can't keep letting him do this."

Angela Bryant has asked prosecutors not to pursue the case.

"Angela Bryant does not want charges filed against her son," West said. "Ms. Bryant has had an opportunity to speak with other people who witnessed the incident and has filed an affidavit of non-prosecution with the DeSoto Police Department. She recognizes that under the law, filing of the affidavit may not impact the legal outcome of her complaint."

West went on to say, "She asks that her affidavit be taken into consideration in deciding whether it is in the best interest of her family for this to continue in the legal system or allow them to resolve the issue as a family. Dez and his mother believe this is a family matter that can be worked out through counseling. They ask that there not be a rush to judgment concerning their family. They also ask for your continued prayers and support for their family as they work through this matter."

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

The matter is in the hands of the Dallas County district attorney. Prosecutors have not announced whether they will pursue charges against Bryant.

Bryant might still be disciplined by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell under the league's personal conduct policy.

While the Cowboys, who begin training camp Saturday in Oxnard, Calif., have continued to decline comment about the incident, Bryant's teammates have voiced their support.

Quarterback Tony Romo reached out to Bryant last week after news of the incident broke.

"I think Dez and everybody does things they wish they could have back in life," said Romo during a promotional appearance for Starter at Walmart in Arlington on Tuesday. "He is going to take steps in the future to make sure that doesn't happen again.

"I know he feels bad. It's a kid who is growing and learning to become a man. He is really a good kid. Dez knows I care about him. He knows I care about his family. He knows I'm here when he needs me."

Linebacker Sean Lee said he's willing to let Bryant's off-the-field legal troubles work themselves out.

"As a teammate, he's been unbelievable," Lee said Tuesday at a promotional appearance at a Dick's Sporting Goods store in Dallas. "The type of work he's put in in practice in the off-season, he's been in the locker, in the weight room. Obviously, that's a different deal off the field that needs to be figured out. We're going to support Dez no matter what."

Clarence E. Hill Jr.


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