Grand Jury clears Bethel, recommends reinstatement to football program

Published: Jul. 15, 2014 at 7:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2014 at 2:07 AM CDT
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Nigel Bethel II (Source: Twitter)
Nigel Bethel II (Source: Twitter)
Bethel immediately expressed his gratitude on social media
Bethel immediately expressed his gratitude on social media
Bethel posted this to Twitter on Tuesday night
Bethel posted this to Twitter on Tuesday night

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The attorney for Nigel Bethel II says his client has been "cleared" by a Lubbock Grand Jury and will not be charged in connection with a June 28 incident at the Student Recreation Center.

The grand jury took the extraordinary step of writing directly to Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt, saying that they "find no probable cause after reviewing the evidence presented to true-bill the charge against Nigel Bethel of aggravated assault."

The letter said:

"We believe he was unduly and prematurely punished. This was an unfortunate incident in a pick-up basketball game. This is a matter that should not result in criminal charges for either party.

"Any assault does deserve immediate action, however, please ensure all testimonies, evidence and circumstances are reviewed prior to taking action which may forever alter a person's future.

"We desire to see Mr. Bethel's scholarship re-instated. If he is re-instated, it is our belief that his consequences should not be greater than those of Ms. Battle. If he is not re-instated, a public exoneration of his character on the part of Texas Tech University should be forthcoming, since Mr. Bethel's future opportunities for an education as well as an athletic career have been jeopardized."

The letter was signed by all 12 members of the Lubbock County Grand Jury.

Bethel expressed his gratitude on social media, posting "God is good! #Amen."

He also reached out to Hocutt personally, tweeting, "I'm praying @kirbyhocutt and @TexasTech give me a second chance by reinstating me! Texas Tech is my home I don't want to be any where else."

Texas Tech police say the incident happened during a pick-up basketball game. Bethel is accused of punching Amber Battle during the conflict, breaking a bone in her face.

Bethel was immediately removed from the TTU football program. Battle will be suspended for the month of November.

Battle admitted that she "initiated the first contact" and apologized to "Nigel, the Texas Tech community, my teammates, coaches and fans" in a statement released on July 4.

Bethel's attorney, Tray Paine, believes his client's punishment was unfair:

"Nigel lost his scholarship in my opinion because of Texas Tech's hasty decision. I don't believe all the evidence was reviewed. I don't believe they took the time out to properly investigate this. Nothing is okay about hitting a woman. Nothing is okay about hitting a man."

"Why wasn't she given the same punishment of zero tolerance that Nigel Bethel was meeted out," Payne asked. "If we're gonna have a zero tolerance policy about violence than that should be across the board."

We also reached out to Amber Battle on Tuesday, but have not yet received a response.

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