Former Miami Dolphin Davone Bess Arrested at Fort Lauderdale Airport

During his regular shift on patrol, Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Thomas O’Brien noticed a man “acting irrationally, dancing, singing with his pants repeatedly falling down.” in a terminal at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. When he approached the man to check on his condition, the man picked up a hot cup of coffee from an adjacent counter and squeezed it, causing the hot liquid to splash all over the Deputy’s uniform. He later wrote in his report that while he tried to start a dialogue with the man he “appeared to be looking through me,” According to Officer O’Brien, the man then positioned himself in a “fighting stance.” It was then that the Deputy used his baton to hit the offender on his leg with apparently no effect. At that point, the man began to remove his shirt and again adjusted his body as if in preparation to fight. The officer repeatedly ordered him to get on the ground which was refused upon each command. Finally backup officers arrived and he succumbed, was arrested, and taken into custody.

As it turned out the offender was Davone Bess, a former Miami Dolphins wide receiver who is presently under contract by the Cleveland Browns. Late last year, Bess was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list by the Browns for what they designated as “personal reasons.” He didn’t play in the last two games of the 2013 season.

Bess was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and simple assault on a law enforcement officer, without violence. He was later released on bail of $100.00. When he was greeted by TV news reporters upon his release, Bess had nothing to say that was substantive, regarding his arrest. The three charges against him are all misdemeanors.

This wasn’t the first run-in the football player has had with the law.

Ten months earlier, before the Dolphins traded Bess to the Browns, the Broward Sheriff’s Office received a call to go to his Cooper City home where he was found being detained by several acquaintances. According to the incident report, Bess purportedly had been shouting “Hide the guns,” “Where is my weed” and “I want to get in the end zone; throw me the football.”

That incident wasn’t publicized at the time, but this latest event has brought the previous occurrence under further scrutiny.

During the first call that drew police last year, the first deputy that arrived noted a strong odor of what he believed to be marijuana coming from the master bedroom of the home. He also witnessed numerous males restraining the athlete who was in an agitated condition. He appeared completely incoherent and was trying to escape from those holding him. Fire rescue was called and their attempts to sedate the durable football player were unsuccessful. It took six Broward Sheriff’s Department Officers to finally restrain him and he was then brought to Memorial East Hospital as he continued to struggle. His family had him checked into the hospital, against his will, where he spent six weeks placed under observation.

His mother had arrived from California the day of the first incident after being informed that her son was acting bizarre. She was quoted as saying that her son was going through “some serious personal issues” and “had not slept in three days.”

Bess’s career had been sliding of late. In the six years he played in the National Football League, five of them with Miami, he amassed nearly 4000 yards in rushing and receiving. His best year was 2010 when he accumulated 820 yards and scored 5 touchdowns. He also had 25 kick returns for an additional 284 yards. Last year, with the Browns, his statistic’s fell to a combined 362 yards and 2 touchdowns. He only had 4 chances of returning kicks for a total of 19 yards.

Recently, Bess used Social Media services Twitter and Instagram to post images of marijuana as well as nude photos of himself. The picture of the illegal substance was titled “We da real dons”. Bess could be looking at disciplinary measures from both the Cleveland Browns and the NFL for posting those types of photos to the social media websites
A recent report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer stated that the Browns will likely release Bess before the league year begins on March 11. Although he was given a $5.75 million guaranteed contract after being traded to them from the Dolphins they may make an attempt to recuperate a portion of that sum, including a percentage of the more than $3 million he’s due to receive for the 2014 season. The report goes on to say that the Browns are deciding whether or not to file a grievance against Miami, based on the fact that they had knowledge that the player had unwillingly been hospitalized for irregular behavior before the trade was initiated.

Although this article deals with an arrest that’s charges are misdemeanors, any arrest can become a problem as they remain on an individual’s record. If new legal problems arise in the future which may be more serious than the charges filed against Mr. Bess for his recent actions, the record of his actions and subsequent arrest could assist in hurting him in the future.

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Mr. Cohen is a board certified trial lawyer specializing in federal criminal defense. He is rated AV by Martindale Hubbel (pre-eminent) and a “Super Lawyer” recognized as being in the top 5% of his specialized field (criminal trial law) among Florida lawyers. He is considered a specialist by the Florida Bar in his field. Mr. Cohen has tried scores of cases over his 35 year career and is a member of the Florida and New York Bars. He practices in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami, among other counties. He is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh and Second Circuit.

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