Cass County State’s Attorney Birch Burdick announced today that they are dropping charges for aggravated assault against NDSU linebacker Travis Beck. After explaining that they initially filed their charges based on eyewitness accounts, he said that after further police investigation including interviews and further review of videos it became clear that they couldn’t support a charge of assault.
“We are now not in a position to carry out our charge that Mr. Beck committed assault. We are now filing…a motion to dismiss charges against Mr. Beck. We are now not intending to charge anyone related to this incident.”
Burdick said that under state law, if a defendant asserts self-defense the burden is on prosecutors to disprove that the defendant wasn’t simply defending himself.
Burdick said that Beck was “involved in a brawl,” but that it was inconclusive as to whether or not he was the aggressor of simply defending himself.
So it’s not they’ve proved that Beck was defending himself, it’s that they can’t prove he wasn’t.
As of right now, law enforcement is not releasing the video nor their police report because charges against Mr. Beck for resisting arrest are still pending (resisting is a Class B Misdemeanor).
Update: Apparently the City of Fargo, a separate jurisdiction from Cass County, will still be charging Beck with resisting arrest. Remember, he faced charges for resisting arrest last year for an underage drinking incident, but the charges were dropped.
Update: More from the Fargo Forum:
The 21-year-old was charged in Cass County District Court on Monday, accused of punching a man in the head multiple times in what began as a verbal fight in a downtown Fargo bar on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Police reports alleged the man Beck punched was found unconscious on the sidewalk on NP Avenue.
Right. Sure sounds like “self defense” to me.