Football players Dion Dawkins and Haason Reddick had been scheduled to stand trial a week before the first game of the season, but instead took an offer to participate in a diversionary program that could lead to a withdrawal of all charges against them.
Dawkins, a senior offensive lineman, and Reddick, a redshirt-senior defensive lineman, were arrested March 2015 and charged in connection to a bar fight in January of that year where two Temple students were injured, one seriously.
Last Monday the two accepted an offer to enter the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. The program requirements will be spelled out for Dawkins and Reddick at a status meeting next week.
“As long as they keep their noses clean, it will be as if a jury had found them not guilty,” said James Funt, the attorney for Dion Dawkins. If both players complete the program successfully, there will be a withdrawal of all charges against them, and they will have the opportunity to completely expunge their records.
“Typically ARD is reserved for first-time and non-violent offenders,” Funt said.
The most severe charge against Dawkins and Reddick was aggravated assault, a first-degree felony. Funt said felony assault is the most violent charge before homicide.
“It’s highly unusual for [people with felony charges] to get an ARD offer, but when they go through the program it will not be for a felony, but a misdemeanor,” added Funt, who worked with Reddick’s attorney, Matt Haggarty. “Accepting this program is not an admission of guilt. As I say, they swallowed a very poisoned pride pill. There was a strong likelihood of being found innocent, but we weren’t willing to take that risk with their futures.”
In a joint statement released with Haggarty, Funt said “in a dark, crowded and chaotic bar they were misidentified as the assailants in an assault on a fellow Temple student.”
“I don’t know what influence that had on the decision [to offer ARD], but I think what the District Attorney did was right and fair,” he said. “At first they only had the complainant’s version, but then they had the whole story.”
In September 2015, Dawkins and Reddick had requested to be placed into the ARD program, but the DA did not offer it.
Glenn Gillman, Reddick’s attorney at the time, told The Temple News that ARD “wasn’t really appropriate” for the case.
The football team opens its season on Friday against the United States Military Academy. Dawkins played in all 14 games for the football team last season and was a second team all-conference selection last season. Reddick played in nine games and received all conference honorable mention.
Reddick earned one of the team’s single digit uniforms this season, which are given to the toughest players on the team.
Julie Christie can be reached at email@example.com.