Notre Dame cornerback Butler pleads not guilty to two felony charges


Notre Dame football player Devin Butler pleaded not guilty to two felony charges Wednesday afternoon in St. Joseph County Court.

Butler was making his first court appearance after being arrested early Saturday morning outside the Linebacker just off campus early Saturday morning. St. Joseph County Prosecutors charged the Notre Dame senior cornerback with felony counts of resisting law enforcement and battery of a police officer. Both are level 6 felonies.

Butler had “no comment” as he exited the courthouse with his father and girlfriend. He is scheduled back in court on September 1st and is hiring a private attorney.

He was indefinitely suspended from the football team on Sunday by Irish football coach Brian Kelly.

The arrest came four hours after five other Notre Dame players were arrested in Fulton County with marijuana and a loaded handgun without a license. The five players arrested in Fulton County have their initial court hearing next Tuesday at 8:30am although they have yet to be formally charged.

The two arrests in one night resulted in an embarrassing weekend for the Irish football program. The team had the weekend off after wrapping up fall practice on Friday.

In the case of Butler, South Bend police were called to the Linebacker at around midnight Friday night/Saturday morning for reports of a fight between patrons and security. After police broke up the fight, they went outside and found a group of women fighting near the curb. When this happened, Devin Butler reportedly became very angry towards one of the women in the group.

According to court documents, Butler lunged at and shoved the woman. An officer grabbed Butler, pushed him away from the woman, and told him to stay back.

Butler reportedly cursed at the officers and tackled one of them to the ground, hitting him several times. Officers eventually detained Butler using a taser, and arrested him.

The South Bend Police officer involved, Aaron Knepper, is no stranger to scuffles. In 2012, he’s one of three officers who tasered and hit an innocent teen in a case of mistaken identity. Two years later, after another reported incident of police brutality, a group of 15 local and religious leaders called for Knepper’s resignation from the police force.

In this case, Knepper went to a local hospital with injuries to his back, neck and arm after detaining Butler.

Court documents indicate butler appeared upset at the jail after his arrest and apologized.

Read the charging documents

“Devin Butler did knowingly forcibly Resist, obstruct or interfere with Aaron Knepper, a law enforcement officer, while said officer was lawfully engaged in his duties as a law enforcement officer and in committing said act the defendant inflicted bodily injury on or otherwise caused bodily injury to Aaron Knepper,” Prosecuting Attorney Kenneth Cotter said in a press release.

Butler reportedly apologized while being transported to jail, saying he’d been incredibly emotional and intoxicated.

Butler, originally from Washington D.C. is a senior at Notre Dame and plays cornerback for the Fighting Irish.

Butler was expected to compete for a starting job at cornerback for 2016 but in June, he re-fractured the same foot he had repaired back in January when he was injured before the Fiesta Bowl. Butler had surgery again in mid-June and was expected to be out out 14-16 weeks, marking the middle of October as the earliest for a potential return.

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