State Attorney drops DUI charge against Hurricanes RB Mark Walton

The DUI charge against Hurricanes running back Mark Walton was dropped Monday morning and he was reinstated to the football team hours later, bringing closure to an offseason drama that began with his April 23 arrest.

Walton

Walton

Walton, 19, was suspended indefinitely after his arrest, during which he was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and with a knowingly suspended license.

“Following today’s decision by the State Attorney’s Office to drop all charges against Mark Walton, and after addressing the matter with Mark, he has been reinstated to the football program,” a Miami spokesperson said in a statement released Monday evening.

Walton, a sophomore, ascended to the role of first-string running back during spring practices. Though officially suspended, he participated in UM’s mandatory community service events and worked out with the team in May and June.

After the state dropped charges Monday morning, he appeared in video on a teammate’s Snapchat account. Walton, wearing a suit and bowtie, was shown dancing and celebrating with his teammates in the Hurricanes’ locker room.

He and his family were present in a Miami-Dade courtroom Monday as Judge Fred Seraphin asked his attorney, Joey McCall, if he was “disappointed” over the state’s decision not to prosecute.

“Not disappointed,” McCall said, as seen in a video posted by WINZ 940-AM reporter Andy Slater. “This should have been done a lot earlier.”

Walton’s legal team has been openly critical of Miami police and the State Attorney’s handling of the case. Reached by phone after Monday’s decision, McCall said Walton’s reputation had been unfairly damaged and that his team would pursue “various [kinds] of civil remedies.” He did not say whether he would pursue further litigation.

According to McCall, Walton was the victim of a “warrantless and unauthorized sting operation” by Miami police.

Walton was arrested at 3:45 a.m. in a residential neighborhood about four miles from campus and charged with DUI, though an incident report did not say he was pulled over. He was investigated for impersonating an officer and groping a woman, but was never formally charged.

Pointing the blame at police, McCall wondered why more information on that alleged incident surfaced so quickly after Walton’s arrest, why news cameras were present at the arrest (which occurred in a quiet neighborhood early in the morning) and why Miami police publicized it in a press release and a (since-deleted) tweet.

“Police have to be more careful than that,” McCall said. “They cannot just parade people in front of the media as if the arrest means the person is guilty. 

“For Mark, he is a college football player. These off-the-field incidents are evaluated by professional teams when they’re making their evaluations on where to draft him. … I think this is something that has to be remedied.” 

Asked to respond to McCall’s comments, a spokesperson for the City of Miami Police Department said it would release a statement early Tuesday.

Last fall as a true freshman, Walton registered 1,054 total yards and a team-best 10 touchdowns. He was UM’s leading kick returner (300 yards), second-leading rusher (461) and fifth-leading receiver (293).

 

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