A report published today by the New York Times alleges major mistakes in the Jameis Winston investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD).
The article states that the TPD were not able to identify the Heisman Trophy Winner despite having “three solid leads” which would have assisted in obtaining Winston’s identity the night of the incident.
Winston, now a sophomore, is the Florida State University quarterback. He led the Seminoles to a National Championship earlier this year. Jameis also pitches and plays outfielder for the FSU baseball team.
During the wee hours on December 7, 2012, an FSU freshman reported that she had been raped off campus by an unidentified male after a night of partying at trendy Tallahassee hotspot, Potbelly’s. Popular celebrity news website TMZ reveals that Jameis is a suspect nearly a year later on November 13, 2013.
The New York Times article alleges that there were multiple gaffs in the Winston investigation by both the TPD and FSU officials since the accuser first filed the police report. Among them:
- Tallahassee investigators did not attempt to interview the star quarterback for nearly two weeks after his accuser identified him, and even then neglected to obtain a DNA sample from Winston. A DNA sample was not obtained until a year later.
- The TPD dropped their investigation 66 days after the police report was filed, stating that the accuser was “uncooperative.” The accuser denies this claim.
- FSU did not begin investigating the allegation until after the football season had ended.
The accusing freshman left FSU in 2013 and filed an internal affairs complaint along with another FSU student charging that the TPD officers had investigated them rather than Jameis, and the sexual assault case was prematurely dropped.
A 2013 Florida grand jury described the TPD as “careless, uncaring, cavalier and incompetent.”
While the Times article falls short of calling the investigation by the Tallahassee police and FSU a cover-up, they do claim “that there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university.”
Winston has acknowledged having sex with the accuser on the night in question, but says that it was consensual. Two teammates, Chris Casher and Ronald Darby, back up his claim. Casher even asserts that he videotaped the act, but by the time police interviewed him, the video had been deleted.
No charges have been filed against Winston, nor does it appear there ever will be.
We may never know the full facts of the Jameis Winston investigation, but, if the New York Times allegations of the investigation are true, we certainly don’t need “instant replay” to know that officials dropped the ball.