It seems that Cape Coral High School grad and NFL player Nate Allen was just the wrong man at the wrong place, at the wrong time. On February 16, he was pulled over by the police who were in search for a man who accused of exposing himself to a juvenile, just a few moments ago.
Allen was in police custody for over five hours that day while the police worked towards correcting a mistake that made them misinterpret a ruling that classified the crime. According to a statement released by the Fort Myers Police Department, Allen should not have been brought to the police station and interviewed under the misdemeanor crime. Some officers, who were unfamiliar with the state law, were led to believe that Allen was under investigation due to a possible felony charge for a sex offense, involving a minor. Although Allen was later released and exonerated with further investigation, the damage had already been done.
Nate Allen’s name was associated with a crime he did not commit and his reputation was at stake. Known for his stints at both Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles, his career was jeopardized, especially at a time when the media and fans were united in criticizing NFL for the way it handled its players who were accused of crimes. “Such crimes are bound to damage and destroy anyone’s reputation”, remarked Allen’s attorney Sawyer Smith. “The damages borne depend upon the reputation of the accused and his/her financial future. Allen has been accused of an unprofessional conduct. Such news spread like wildfire, especially within professional sports.”
A 646-page report was prepared that explained what exactly went wrong with the Nate Allen case. The NFL player was stopped because he fitted the victim’s description of the offender. The suspect was identified as belonging to a mixed heritage, aged between 40 and 60, had grey facial hair and drove a black truck. While Allen didn’t fit in the age range or facial hair description, he was nonetheless driving a black truck at that time. A handcuffed Allen was then presented in a show-up to help the victim identify the perpetrator. Such show-ups are normally held when the police want to identify the perpetrator within minutes of the crime. Throughout the show-up, Allen was kept in cuffs and this gave the impression that he was already guilty of the crime.
When Allen was taken into custody, the police assumed that they were investigating a case of lascivious and lewd exhibition- a crime that constituted felony if committed in front of a minor below the age of 16. However, the victim was 16 and this meant that it was supposed to be a misdemeanor, not a felony.
Once the officers realized their mistake, they admitted in their reports that they should have released Allen and stopped the investigation from proceeding further on his own recognizance. During the confusion, a series of interviews were conducted with Allen and the victim, which violated the agency procedures. Allen’s lawyer argues that his client should not have been pulled over in the first place and that the officers stopped him over the pretext of violating a traffic rule, indicating dishonesty and unprofessionalism on their part.
I am an alumni adviser for a fraternity at USC. The chapter was involved in a disciplinary action with the university. After receiving unusually harsh and unfair sanctions from a student/faculty review committee, our chapter sought counsel from James Kosnett. He attended a hearing with USC administrators, and prepared a compelling written appeal.