At last, some closure to an ugly incident that has spanned over a month.
Former Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley has been cleared of any wrongdoing in a battery complaint filed last month. The complaint alleges that he struck 21 year old Chelsea Austin in the mouth with such force that he knocked her unconscious and removed a tooth after she shoved him.
But the State Attorney’s office dismissed the complaint today, saying that there was insufficient evidence to charge Brantley with a crime. “Having reviewed the matter, including interviewing the alleged victim and multiple other witnesses, it is apparent that there is no reliable evidence upon which an arrest or prosecution would be warranted or legally justified, and the sworn complaint is therefore being dismissed,” read their press release.
That’s one way to put it.
Numerous witnesses, one of whom was a security guard present at the scene, and many others of whom did not know Brantley before being present at the encounter, have come forward to point the finger of blame at Austin. The altercation started when Austin confronted Brantley because he had sex with one of her friends but not her, a move that Austin admitted to but spun as “he disrespected me.” Austin then initiated the physical contact by punching Brantley, say the witnesses. Brantley responded by shoving her away, and that was the end of it.
But Austin didn’t feel as though she had brought justice, or whatever passed for justice in her heavily inebriated mind, to Brantley. So she then made up a story about how she was violently assaulted, with her friends acting as witnesses, with some pretty ugly details. Unfortunately for her, the injuries she claimed to have sustained were neither present on her body nor were they consistent with what the neutral witnesses said happened.
You can read the full report here:
I do believe there is a possibility that the neutral witnesses- in Gainesville, remember- didn’t know Brantley personally but knew who he was, saw him punch Austin and knock her out, and lied to protect him. I also believe that possibility is truly believed only among Austin and her friends, and that there’s a much more likely possibility that Austin remained upset with Brantley after their confrontation and made the assault up just to get back at him. And that possibility is backed up by the fact that the report goes on to state that Austin was extremely intoxicated that night, refused to cooperate after filing the initial complaint and then forgot the details of what happened when questioned a second time.
If the latter is indeed the case- and the overwhelming number of witnesses who favor Brantley as well as Austin’s inconsistent claims to police make me inclined to believe it is- then Austin succeeded in getting back at Brantley. She filed the report just days before the 2017 NFL Draft, causing Brantley to drop from the third or fourth round all the way down to the sixth round, and costing him a large sum of money. But Austin also accomplished something much greater.
There are people in this country who really are victims of abuse, violence and battery. There are people who actually do have teeth knocked out by an angry assailant. There are people who truly do need the attention of law enforcement to listen to their stories of being injured and help bring justice to people who deserve to pay for their mistake. People lying in hospital beds from concussions, broken noses, and swollen, puffy faces. People requiring significant, and usually expensive, medical care. People missing work, school, or other parts of their daily lives. And all because of an injury inflicted by another person.
You, Chelsea Austin, have done a great deal to discredit those people, past and future, particularly when the accused assailant is a famous football player. You have also furthered every stereotype about the belligerent, drunk college girl who’s looking for trouble and is willing to eschew morals and facts in favor of getting her way by trying to pin an assault on Brantley that he didn’t commit because he didn’t have sex with you. And in the victim-blaming society that naturally spawns when sports and law intersect, you can be certain that with every case like yours, it’s going to get a little worse.
You also managed to destroy your own reputation, whatever that’s worth to you, once the facts came out. Because you got what kids these days called “curved,” or rejected by him, you then opted to fabricate a story about him assaulting you merely days before the biggest day of his young life. Your failed attempt to destroy Brantley’s reputation has instead earned you a reputation as a slut, a liar, and an all around bad person. I try not to let emotions cloud what I write, and I sincerely wish you the best moving forward, but you made a mistake that is going to have farther reaching consequences in our society than you can possibly grasp, and need to be aware of it.
I apologize to Caleb Brantley for ever doubting his innocence. Go forth and prosper, Caleb.
And Chelsea, if you want to find him again, just check the stats section of any newspaper or website.