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In wake of Winston case, Tallahassee PD to revise policies

Jameis Winston Getty Images

In early December of last year, following a three-week investigation, the Florida State’s Attorney office announced that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that a sexual encounter between Jameis Winston and an alleged victim was not consensual, and that no sexual assault charges would be filed against the player. The state’s attorney in charge of that investigation, William Meggs, was highly critical of the Tallahassee Police Department’s investigation into the alleged rape in a New York Times report a handful of months later, a report in which the university subsequently expressed its disappointment.

Thanks at least in part to that Times report, however, the police in the college town are set to revamp how it handles complaints of sexual assault.

The Times wrote in an article Friday that the TPD “has begun working with a respected women’s advocacy group to rewrite its sexual assault complaint policy.” Additionally, the TPD will have all of its complaint policies, sexual assault and otherwise, reviewed by a Washington-based, non-profit research group

The executive director of the Refuge House told the paper that she is pleased with the steps the new police chief is taking.

“I applaud the chief of police’s initiative in both of these instance,” Meg Baldwin said.

Meggs unleashed a verbal barrage against the TPD in April, not the least of which involved detectives initially reaching out by phone to the Florida State quarterback in an attempt to get him in for questioning involving the alleged Dec. of 2012 rape.  That tack failed as Winston lawyered up and was never interviewed by the TPD.

“It’s insane to call a suspect on the phone,” Meggs said in April. “First off, you don’t know who you are talking to.” He said he would have gone straight to the baseball field. “If you walked up to Jameis Winston in the middle of baseball practice and said, ‘Come here, son, I need to talk to you,’ he would have said, ‘Yes, sir.'”

In a statement sent out in November 20, 2013 — exactly one week after reports of Winston being investigated for sexual assault surfaced — by the alleged victim’s family, it was claimed that the accuser’s attorney was warned by a Tallahassee Police detective that her client’s life “could be made miserable” if she pursued the complaint against Winston. The detective, the statement claimed, indicated that Tallahassee is “a big football town,” leaving the family to fear that the alleged victim could “be targeted on campus.”

The alleged victim, who was a Florida State student at the time of the alleged sexual assault, subsequently left school and moved out of state.

The family’s accusations led to a firestorm of criticism from the national media as well as women’s advocacy groups, and likely played a significant role in this policy development as well.

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12 Responses to “In wake of Winston case, Tallahassee PD to revise policies”
  1. floridascuba1 says: Jun 14, 2014 7:49 AM

    The actual police report refutes the accusers story. She is looking for a pay day and aunt is trying to get Gloria Allred status.

  2. tigersdawgs says: Jun 14, 2014 7:57 AM

    Had that been my daughter, I would be with Aaron Hernadez , there would not have been a police call from me!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. woebegong says: Jun 14, 2014 8:21 AM

    floridascuba1 says: Jun 14, 2014 7:49 AM

    The report and how the whole case was handled is exactly what the AG was talking about in the first place. It was a botched investigation and was handled poorly by the police. How could one expect anything else from a report about the crime, when the police mishandled the case and investigation so poorly.
    They did get one thing right though and your statement proves it. FSU supporters would have made the girls life miserable. I wonder how you would have felt if she were your daughter.

  4. floridascuba1 says: Jun 14, 2014 8:39 AM

    I am raising both my daughters to not be in that position and both will be Concealed carry

  5. dhardy8207 says: Jun 14, 2014 9:11 AM

    Unfortunately being young, drunk, and foolish presents opportunity for unintended and sometimes criminal things to happen. I get that this young lady was intoxicated, but no one has questioned if Winston was as well. He was in a bar when he met her and I do believe he was under the age of 21. No biggie I know, underage drinking is rampid amongst college kids. But see here’s where the grey area between black and white sets in.

    Young women are targets all the time for sexual assault by having their drinks laced with some other type of substance. I had a coworker that had that type of thing happen to her 19 year old daughter her first year in college. Not to say that is the case here but young men and women both need to understand the situation they put themselves in when out for a night on the town. The fact that any video evidence to either support or disprove her claim was long gone before anyone took her report serious is a huge issue. The fact of not approaching him in person and placing a phone call instead discredits the theory that they took her claim serious from the beginning.

    NO ONE but the four involved know what really went down that night, but the fact that TPD neglected to properly investigate the possible crime would be extremely alarming to me if I had a daughter in that town or a student at FSU..

    Teach your teenagers particularly girls the risk of becoming so intoxicated to the point of not being able to defend themselves.

  6. bigthymie93 says: Jun 14, 2014 9:48 AM

    All credibility is lost if u don’t have clean hands. Both were underage drinking…it is not right that he took advantage if that was the actual occurrence. But likewise if she were intoxicated and underage her credibility is no more.

    We will never know the truth but young people be careful with who u hang out with and stay safe and not drink. That’s the best policy.

  7. mogogo1 says: Jun 14, 2014 11:08 AM

    She was texting a friend immediately before and after her encounter with Winston and never once suggested anything was wrong. She also changed her story multiple times when talking to the authorities with basically every verifiable detail going against her. At one time she said she was drunk…only tests show otherwise. She claimed she might have been drugged…tests also shoot that one down. She said there was a possible head injury…but the medical checkup couldn’t find evidence.

  8. phinfanatic84 says: Jun 14, 2014 12:35 PM

    Mogogo1 where did you read that stuff about her? Please post a link… thanks.

  9. dunnkid36 says: Jun 14, 2014 4:02 PM

    Mogogo1 is right you can find the whole police report online. She wasn’t drunk or drugged

  10. dhardy8207 says: Jun 14, 2014 6:39 PM

    ^^^It’s hard to defend this based on a police report that was written by the same officers/detectives that failed to properly investigate the matter originally. It coud be a fabrication as well if it is indeed true that the TPD was laxed in their investigation of the incident.

    If there was nothing to hide then why dodge the police. If there was nothing to hide then why would the police not follow protocol, and before I get dinged with “well he wasn’t required to answer their questions” or “his lawyer told him to keep quiet”, all investigations don’t go the way this one did.

    EXHIBIT A: Jalen Mills of LSU arrested for assault, second degree. Note the difference in the way the police handled the case when he was “unavailable” to police.

    “Mills was unavailable to talk to police after arrangements to talk about the incident this week. With Mills not making himself available to police, a warrant for his arrest was issued.”

    Clearly a difference in how these two cases were handled and with the SA hanging them out to dry in that New York Times article it makes the whole police department and FSU athletics/Admin look suspect.

  11. phinfanatic84 says: Jun 15, 2014 3:12 PM

    Dunnkid… please post a link then.. thanks.

  12. floridascuba1 says: Jun 15, 2014 5:09 PM

    Doesn’t matter. Look at the cases where someone did nothing wrong, but was led and found guilty. Only years later proven innocent. You never talk to the police without an attorney.

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