McCray charges are dropped

Diversion program for Terps guard deemed appropriate by Prince George's County

October 19, 2005|By HEATHER A. DINICH | HEATHER A. DINICH,SUN REPORTER

Upper Marlboro -- All charges have been dropped against Maryland basketball guard Chris McCray, who was arrested in College Park in late August after allegedly refusing to leave the scene of a fight, officials at the Prince George's County state's attorney's office said yesterday.

His court date of Nov. 21, which conflicted with Maryland's game against Gonzaga in the opening round of the Maui Invitational, is no longer an issue, and McCray can make the trip.

McCray, who was charged with resisting arrest and two other misdemeanor counts, completed 20 hours of community service during the third week of September as part of a diversion program.

"We thought [the diversion program] was appropriate because he was a first-time offender, and it was a non-violent incident," said Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey.

The incident occurred at 3:20 a.m. Aug. 28 in the 4300 block of Knox Road. Prince George's County police said McCray, 21, was involved in a physical altercation with about 15 other people. According to police, McCray was asked to leave, but didn't, and he pulled away as an officer was placing a handcuff on his right wrist. Officer David LaRose used a one-second burst of pepper spray on McCray, who then ran about 150 feet across Knox Road before he was caught, police reported.

Gary Neal, McCray's attorney, said McCray was not part of the original argument, and had walked away to a nearby convenience store to order a sandwich. Neal said McCray was "horsing around" with his cousin and the police misinterpreted that he was getting into a fight.

"As far as the charges were concerned, he admitted he was drinking irresponsibly, but he was not part of the original argument at all," Neal said. "This is totally out of character for him. I don't think he understood the seriousness of the officer's intent and maybe also the officer misperceived what Chris was doing.

"The fact remains that he's learned a very serious lesson," Neal said. "He's never had a traffic ticket, a parking ticket - no record of any kind as a juvenile or an adult. I believe they investigated the charges very carefully and found no real prosecutorial merit in going forward with the case."

Neal said McCray volunteered to take an alcohol education course at the Institute of Life and Health at the university, and completed a two-day program to "beautify Prince George's County."

McCray's teammates voted him a co-captain last season. He was second on the team with an average of 14.1 points per game, and he averaged 4.3 rebounds last season.

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

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