Derek Dooley comments on Friday morning's violent bar brawl
Knoxville police will continue their investigation this weekend into a bar brawl involving several University of Tennessee football players that sent two people to a hospital - including an off-duty officer - before any more charges are filed.
Police charged two football players on Friday, but neither of them is accused of assaulting Knoxville Police Department Officer Robert Capouellez, who remains in serious condition at UT Medical Center today. Reports that he'd been discharged Friday night were incorrect.
Capouellez, 24, was off duty and not in uniform early Friday when a fight erupted in the Bar Knoxville, 1820 Cumberland Ave., according to Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk.
The brawl began when Gary Russell, 20, was involved in an altercation with another customer, and "several additional patrons jumped into the fight," DeBusk said.
"Employees of the bar intervened and pushed the fight outside onto the sidewalk," DeBusk said. "Officer Capouellez intervened in an attempt to stop the fight when he was attacked."
Witnesses said Capouellez was hit in the head and knocked to the ground, where a suspect "kicked the officer several times before fleeing the scene," DeBusk said.
Russell, who was also taken to UT Medical Center for treatment, was released from the hospital Friday, a UTMC spokeswoman said. He couldn't be reached for comment.
Police detained six potential suspects for questioning, but DeBusk declined to identify anyone who had not been charged yet.
According to UT Police Department reports, however, players John Brown, 22; Matthew Milton, 18; Denarious Moore, 21; Darren Myles Jr., 19; and Da'Rick Rogers, 19, were identified as possibly being involved in the beating of Capouellez.
Another man, identified in records as Jerran Talley, 19, of Athens, allegedly was with the group involved in the beating. Talley is not a UT student and has not been charged.
UT football coach Derek Dooley announced Friday that two players not mentioned in police reports, Marlon Walls and Greg King, ages unavailable, had been suspended indefinitely. Dooley didn't provide specifics as to why the action was taken, saying only that the suspensions resulted "from my conversations with the student-athletes who were present."
A statement Friday from a UT spokeswoman said Knoxville police will not charge Milton in connection with the fight.
Knoxville police charged Rogers with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Rogers resisted being handcuffed, records allege, and the freshman wide receiver was later released from jail after posting a $1,000 bond.
UT police officers, who responded to a call to help the disabled Capouellez, charged Myles with assault, evading arrest and resisting arrest. Myles, a sophomore safety, was released from jail after posting a $2,000 bond.
Myles has been kicked off the UT football team, UT officials announced Friday.
Myles is accused of assaulting UT Police Department Cpl. Brian Greenlee after the officer arrived at 2:04 a.m.
Greenlee's affidavit states he was directed by bar bouncers to a group of people supposedly involved in the beating of Capouellez. Greenlee said that after he identified himself as an officer to the group, Myles "fled from me on foot southbound towards Lake Avenue."
When Greenlee caught Myles on Lake Avenue,
Myles "slipped out of my grip and struck me in the face on my left side," according to Greenlee's report. Greenlee did not require medical treatment.
Officers found Myles hiding under a BMW a short time later, but he ran again when ordered to come out, records show. Officers eventually found him hiding in bushes near Henson Hall on campus.
Friday's incident marked Myles' second encounter with local police.
He was arrested just hours after the April 17 Orange and White game. He was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after a 2:29 a.m. incident at Sobu, 6213 Kingston Pike. Club bouncers had removed Myles from the business, but he allegedly continued causing problems in the parking lot.
Myles was riding on the hood of a car when officers arrived, police said. Officers said he fought them when he was arrested, but no officers were injured. Myles is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 12 on those charges.
Knoxville attorney Donald A. Bosch represents Myles in both incidents. "Our initial investigation indicates that Darren was in no way involved with the fight at the bar," Bosch said.
Attorney Gregory P. Isaacs was retained to represent freshman defensive tackle Montori Hughes, 19, who was identified by police as being at the bar.
Isaacs said the brawl erupted when "an unknown patron" of the bar attacked Hughes "without provocation." Isaacs said police have not interviewed Hughes about the fight.
"Our investigation has revealed that the UT football players did not start the altercation at the establishment," Isaacs said.
Isaacs said he didn't believe that any criminal charges will be filed against Hughes.
Correy Wilson, 19, a UT sophomore studying journalism who said he was at the bar when the fight erupted, contacted the News Sentinel on Friday and said the brawl started when a "macho black guy" pushed and then punched a white man.
"Then it was like somebody sent out a message because there were suddenly like six black guys beating up this white guy," he said.
The club's security team intervened, at one point tackling a suspect who had picked up a bar stool, Wilson said.
A security guard then began dousing the crowd with pepper spray, forcing Wilson and a friend onto the outdoor patio.
"Everyone starts coughing, everyone is pushing each other to get out of the bar," he said.
Outside, a black man with no shirt was repeatedly kicking a white man who was lying on the pavement, Wilson said. The man fled through a nearby bank parking lot and was chased by the many police officers who soon arrived on the scene.
Wilson said he hadn't been interviewed by police because he and a friend managed to slip away from the nightclub before it was closed off.
It wasn't clear if Russell was the "unknown patron" referred to by Isaacs or described by Wilson. DeBusk said that police have no videos of the brawl or the beating of Capouellez.
Don Jacobs may be reached at 865-342-6345. J.J. Stambaugh may be reached at 865-342-6307.