On Thursday, November 14, 2019, football fans across the nation watched as Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off the helmet of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. After getting the protective gear free, Garrett then hit his opponent’s head with it.
The next day, the NFL issued a statement, saying it decided to suspend Garrett indefinitely for his on-field actions.
In a sport where physical contact is the norm, is a suspension all the defensive end could face? Or is it possible he could be charged with a crime, specifically assault. Police were seen leaving the locker room after Thursday night’s game, and Rudolph’s agent said they might consider legal action.
What Constitutes Assault in Ohio?
Ohio law defines assault as:
- Knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to someone else; or
- Recklessly causing serious physical harm to another person
If Garrett caused Rudolph to suffer and injury, illness, or physiological impairment after hitting him in the head with the helmet, his actions could be considered assault. This offense is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. A conviction for this offense carries with it up to 180 days in jail.
However, Attorney Joseph C. Patituce told yahoo! sports that Garrett’s actions could also be considered felonious assault.
According to Ohio Revised Code 2903.11, a person commits felonious assault when they:
- Cause serious physical harm to someone else; or
- Use a deadly weapon to cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another person
A deadly weapon isn’t just a gun or a knife. Ohio law defines it as “any instrument, device, or thing capable of inflicting death, and designed or specifically adapted for use as a weapon, or possessed, carried, or used as a weapon.” It could be possible for a helmet, swung at another person’s head, to be considered a deadly weapon.
Felonious assault is a second-degree felony. The maximum prison term for this level of offense is 8 years.
If you’re facing criminal charges in Cleveland, reach out to Patituce & Associates today to discuss your circumstances and legal options. For a free consultation, call us at (440) 709-8088 or contact us online.