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On a weekend where a former LSU football player was to be celebrated by his hometown for moving on to the NFL, he instead found himself in legal hot water that leaves his draft stock in question.
Ex-LSU cornerback Tharold Simon was arrested Thursday night and charged with public intimidation, resisting arrest and unnecessary noise in his hometown of Eunice, La.
Two days later, the Seattle Seahawks selected Simon in the fifth round with the 138th overall pick.
Lafayette, La., television station KATC reported that Simon's vehicle was blocking a street and he was asked to move it. According to the report, he told the officer, "I own Eunice" and "I'm going to buy these projects and you are going to be mine," before getting into his car.
The report said Simon spun his wheels, "backed up in an aggressive manner" and "turned his radio all the way up." When he was arrested, he reportedly told the officer that "the mayor was on my side" and that the officer would be fired for giving him a ticket.
He was arrested, then later released on bond.
Simon's agent, Peter Schaffer, disputes police accounts and says the officer acted in a "shameful" abuse of power.
"There were 30 witnesses. We've talked to about 20. They all corroborate Tharold's story. He did nothing wrong. The police overreacted," Schaffer said. "We're 100 percent confident he'll be completely exonerated and that charges should never be filed."Tharold is a wonderful young man who acted with the appropriate class and dignity in this matter in an attempt to avoid any altercation with the officer, and we're very proud of the way he handled himself. We're appalled with the actions of the officer, certainly coming on the eve of one of the most important days of Tharold's life."
Simon left LSU after starting as a junior, recording 45 tackles and a career-high four interceptions. As a sophomore, he played starter-like snaps as the Tigers' third cornerback, picking up 42 tackles and two interceptions in a role that allowed teammate Tyrann Mathieu to thrive playing nickelback.
Friday also was supposed to be "Tharold Simon Day" in Eunice, including a downtown ceremony Friday night. Mayor Rusty Moody said the celebration was canceled, but added that he hoped no one would rush to judgment.
"I wasn't there. I've heard two versions, and in the United States you're innocent until proven guilty, and people need to consider the feelings of Tharold and his family also," Moody said. "He really is a good guy and he's looked up to by a lot of the children in town. He's a football hero."
Simon has had off-field trouble before. During the 2011 season, he was suspended for the Auburn game along with teammates Spencer Ware and Mathieu for testing positive or smoking synthetic marijuana.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.