Players each to face single charge

Updated: October 15, 2009, 2:37 PM ET
By Dana O'Neil | ESPN.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville basketball players Jerry Smith and Terrence Jennings each will face only one charge stemming from their involvement in an altercation with off-duty police officers during the weekend, and coach Rick Pitino said the two would not miss any game time.

Clark County (Ind.) prosecuting attorney Steve Stewart said that after reviewing the police report, he has decided to charge the two with a single count each of resisting law enforcement. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

The police report initially asked that the pair be charged with multiple counts.

Any time you defy a police officer, it's serious. ... They will be punished and are being punished right now. But no, they will not miss game time.

-- Rick Pitino

"People don't understand that police make a recommendation in the report, but the prosecutor makes the decision what charges will be filed," Stewart told the Jeffersonville (Ind.) Evening News.

Jennings, a 6-foot-10 sophomore from Sacramento, Calif., and Smith, a 6-foot-2 senior from Wauwatosa, Wis., are scheduled to appear Monday morning in Jeffersonville City Court.

Pitino said both players understand the severity of the situation.

"Any time you defy a police officer, it's serious," Pitino told ESPN.com. "They will be punished and are being punished right now. But no, they will not miss game time."

The two were taken into custody in Jeffersonville, following a confrontation with off-duty police officers during an alumni homecoming party early Sunday morning. Jeffersonville is across the Ohio River from Louisville.

The police report said several off-duty officers -- all of whom were wearing T-shirts with "Police" clearly marked on the front and back -- were working at the party when a fight broke out inside. Officer Tom Mitchell found Jennings pushing and shoving people, according to his report.

Jennings was eventually escorted outside and placed on the ground but "continued to fight with officers; trying to get back to his feet and refusing to place his hands behind his back," according to the report.

Jennings said he wasn't aware at the time he was being confronted by off-duty police.

Officers needed to strike Jennings twice with a Taser to subdue him. Police said Jennings, 20, also had a low level of alcohol in his system, according to the report.

Police said Smith, 22, approached officers after Jennings was placed in handcuffs. Smith, the Cardinals' team captain, refused to comply with requests to back away and resisted when an officer attempted to restrain him.

After the incident, Jennings apologized to police and event organizers in a statement issued through his attorney. He said he had been minding his own business when he was provoked by a person he did not know. He also said Smith was only trying to help him and meant no disrespect to police.

"I think Jerry saw a teammate on the ground and didn't want to abandon him," Pitino said. "I think he saw a teammate taking some pretty good blows and tried to help."

Dana O'Neil covers college basketball for ESPN.com and can be reached at espnoneil@live.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Dana O'Neil | email

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