The charges in and of themselves were disturbing enough. Now, with the details surrounding them having emerged, a nauseating situation in Gainesville has gotten even more disturbing.
Reports emerged yesterday that 2018 Florida signee Justin Watkins was arrested and booked into the Alachua County Jail Tuesday on four charges, including a pair of third-degree felonies (false imprisonment/kidnapping and domestic battery by strangulation) as well as two misdemeanors (first-degree battery). While no details were available at the time, a University of Florida Police Department arrest report, obtained by the Gainesville Sun, lays out a scenario involving Watkins and his girlfriend that makes one wonder why the player was simply suspended instead of being summarily dismissed.
From the Sun:
On the late afternoon of July 20, police say Watkins struck his 18-year-old girlfriend with an open and closed fist on both sides of her head and on her shoulders while holding her down on a dorm room bed.
He got on top of her, pinning her to the bed again, the report says, wrapped his hands around her neck and choked her three times, once for 15 seconds and twice for about eight seconds.
Police say Watkins knew that she has asthma.
Police say he confined her to the room by standing in the doorway and blocking the exit.
She said, “I want to leave,” and, “Get out of the way,” the report says. When she tried to leave, he grabbed her hair and belt, yanking her back into the room.
The alleged victim ultimately got away by spraying mace in Watkins’ face and running out of the apartment. Watkins allegedly continued the assault by chasing after the woman and throwing a pair of items — a wooden brush and container of hair grease, per the police report — at her that struck her on the hand.
As of late Wednesday morning, Watkins remains jailed. It remains to be seen whether these details being released publicly will prompt and/or force the university to take further action against Watkins, who head coach Dan Mullen announced Tuesday had “been suspended immediately from all activities.”
This was Watkins’ second arrest for violence against a female in two months.
In early May, Watkins, prior to enrolling at UF but after signing with the university, was arrested on one count of misdemeanor trespassing on school grounds. It’s alleged in that incident that a verbal argument between Watkins and an unidentified female turned violent as Watkins shattered the woman’s cellphone, kicked her vehicle and attempted to let the air out of her tires.
It’s unknown if the female victim in that incident is the same as the victim in this latest situation.
A four-star member of the Gators’ 2018 recruiting class, Watkins was rated as the No. 16 wide receiver in the country; the No. 20 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 89 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Only three players in UF’s class signed this past February were rated higher than Watkins.
Watkins recently enrolled in classes at UF.