KNOXVILLE - No charges will be brought in the Cumberland Avenue bar brawl involving University of Tennessee football players that left an off-duty Knoxville police officer unconscious in the street.
Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols said in a press release today that his office also is unable to bring charges against anyone involved in the July 9 melee inside Bar Knoxville, 1820 Cumberland Ave.
Nichols said he regretted that charges could not be brought, "particularly since Officer Robert Capouellez of the Knoxville Police Department was seriously injured in one of the altercations that occurred."
He said several individuals "that should have had more information about the altercations involved were uncooperative."
"I am afraid that is the norm when we deal with fights and shootings late at night in and around bars" Nichols said.
The police investigation failed "to develop sufficient evidence to bring charges for actions that occurred inside and outside Bar Knoxville that night," Nichols said in the press release.
He also cited contradictory statements provided by witnesses and lack of cooperation on the part of others.
Because of that "it was not possible to determine who committed criminal acts that night at Bar Knoxville," according to Nichols.
The announcement this afternoon came hours after a Knox County General Sessions Court judge dismissed a resisting arrest charge against Vol wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers.
Rogers, 19, must serve 16 hours of community service on a disorderly conduct charge stemming from the brawl.
Rogers admitted he was at the bar but denied being involved in the fight.
Police had charged Rogers and Darren Myles Jr., 19, after the brawl, but neither was accused of assaulting Capouellez, who was treated for several days at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
Capouellez, 24, was off duty and not in uniform when the brawl erupted, according to Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk.
Capouellez returned early last month to regular patrol duties.
Myles, a sophomore safety, was charged with assault, evading arrest and resisting arrest. He was kicked off the UT football team.
Myles appeared Aug. 12 in court. He was given judicial diversion on the July 9 charges, which allows for expungement of the offenses if Myles stays out of trouble for two years. The plea agreement included dismissal of earlier charges.
Nichols said he had assigned two assistant prosecutors who worked with Knoxville Police Department investigators on the case.
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.
Nichols said there was no evidence that Capouellez identified himself as a police officer when he intervened in the fight.
Russell, who was also taken to UT Medical Center for treatment, was released from the hospital.
Police detained six potential suspects for questioning after the brawl.
According to UT Police Department reports, players John Brown, 22; Matthew Milton, 18; Denarious Moore, 21; Myles Jr.; and Rogers 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.
The assistant DAs reviewed evidence and statements, according to Nichols, and could not resolve conflicting accounts given by various witnesses of what happened.
He said most witnesses were unable to identify who may have committed assaults at the bar, and some witnesses identified people who were not present.
He said Capouellez has no recollection of "how and by whom he was assaulted."
DeBusk released a statement this afternoon on behalf of KPD.
"On Monday, the Knoxville Police Department was notified by the Knox County District Attorney General's Office that they would not seek charges in relation to the incident that left Knoxville Police Department Officer Robert Capouellez injured. Although disappointed with the outcome the department understands the hurdles that would need to be overcome for a successful prosecution.
"The fact of the matter remains, Officer Capouellez was severely injured due to no fault of his own. He was attacked and left lying unconscious in the road. The department will continue to follow up on any additional information that may come to light in the future and provide that information to the DA's office."
More details as they develop online and in Wednesday's News Sentinel.