NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former LSU cornerback and NFL draft prospect Tharold Simon is facing possible charges in his hometown of Eunice for his alleged treatment of a police officer who ordered Simon to move his parked car out of the street.
Simon's agent, Peter Schaffer, disputes police accounts and said Friday that the officer overacted in a "shameful" abuse of power.
"There were 30 witnesses. We've talked to about 20. They all corroborate Tharold's story. He did nothing wrong. The police overreacted," Schaffer said. "We're 100 percent confident he'll be completely exonerated and that charges should never be filed."
According to a police report first obtained by KATC-TV, Simon was arrested Thursday night on charges of public intimidation, resisting an officer and a noise violation. He was released on bond on the eve of what city officials had intended to proclaim "Tharold Simon Day" in Eunice.
Eunice Mayor Rusty Moody said the celebration in Simon's honor was canceled, but added that he hoped no one would rush to judgment.
"I wasn't there. I've heard two versions, and in the United States you're innocent until proven guilty, and people need to consider the feelings of Tharold and his family also," Moody said. "He really is a good guy and he's looked up to by a lot of the children in town. He's a football hero."
Police say Simon told the officer, "I own Eunice," then peeled his tires as he moved his car and blared his stereo at an excessively loud level.
When the officer said he was going to issue a citation for violating a noise ordinance if Simon did not lower the volume, Simon allegedly responded that "the mayor is on my side" and that he could have the officer fired for writing a ticket.
At that point the officer stated that he approached Simon to arrest him for public intimidation, and that Simon "violently jerked his arm away" and said, "Don't touch me."
The 6-foot-3, 193-pound Simon was widely projected as a middle-round draft choice, and was hoping to be selected as early as Friday night, when the second and third rounds were taking place.
"Tharold is a wonderful young man who acted with the appropriate class and dignity in this matter in an attempt to avoid any altercation with the officer, and we're very proud of the way he handled himself," Schaffer said. "We're appalled with the actions of the officer, certainly coming on the eve of one of the most important days of Tharold's life."
Simon started at cornerback for LSU in 2012, leading the team with four interceptions and nine pass breakups. He was a regular in 2011 in passing situations, but was one of three Tigers suspended one game — along with defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and running back Spencer Ware — for testing positive for synthetic marijuana. Simon had seven interceptions in his three seasons, making his first in the 2011 Cotton Bowl as a true freshman.