By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 6, 2005
Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor posted bond and was released from police custody at 11:32 Saturday night after surrendering to authorities and being charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, a felony, and one count of simple battery, a misdemeanor, according to police and detention center reports.
Accompanied by his lawyer, Fred Moldovan, Taylor paid a bond of $16,500 at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, a source said, and he has an arraignment hearing scheduled for the morning of June 24 in Miami at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building.
Taylor, 22, the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft, was arrested in connection with an incident that occurred Wednesday night in Miami, where he resides. According to a police report, Taylor and a co-defendant, Charles Elwood Caughman, 19, of Baltimore, drove up to a residence in a blue 2005 GMC Yukon Denali sport-utility vehicle and Taylor pointed a gun at two individuals he believed had stolen two all-terrain vehicles from him and demanded they be returned. No shots were fired and Taylor and Caughman left the scene before returning 10 minutes later.
At this point, police say Taylor, whom the team lists as 6 feet 2, 231 pounds, exited the vehicle and began assaulting one victim, swinging and missing with a closed fist before a fight ensued. Caughman, who was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on the night of the incident, chased the other victim with a baseball bat before he and Taylor fled the scene, according to the police report. The incident took place less than two miles from Taylor's residence in Miami. Police have not been able to determine if the victims were involved in the theft of Taylor's vehicles.
Caughman was released June 2 after posting $1,000 bond. He will be arraigned June 23.
Taylor's mother, Donna Junor, could not be reached yesterday afternoon, and his father, Pedro Taylor, the chief of police in Florida City, Fla., has not commented on the matter, referring media calls to Junor.
Police had been trying to question Taylor since the time of the incident, but he did not surrender to them until 10 p.m. Saturday night.
Taylor is the only Redskins player skipping the team's voluntary offseason program, and his absence had already been the cause of concern and disappointment within the organization prior to his arrest. Coach Joe Gibbs has often expressed his dissatisfaction with Taylor's decision to remain in Florida while his teammates trained and practiced at Redskins Park, and the second-year player had not returned numerous calls from Gibbs and his staff. Taylor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has not returned repeated phone calls, and Moldovan did not return a message left at his office yesterday.
The Redskins have made no comment on Wednesday night's incident beyond a statement they issued late Saturday night, which said: "We have just been made aware of a potential situation in Miami regarding Sean Taylor. The representatives for Taylor are keeping us informed as to the developments of the situation. There is nothing we can add to the process at this time."
Police officials noted in a news release that the team cooperated fully in their investigation. The NFL is making no comment on Taylor at this time. The NFL waits until the legal process is complete before fining or suspending players in these instances.
Redskins H-back Chris Cooley, who was Washington's second pick in the 2004 draft, said he hopes this is the last of Taylor's legal problems.
"For me, it's tough to hear about, because you see the guy on the field and know him in locker room, and he is a good guy," Cooley said. "Lots of guys on the team like him, and I talk to him all the time and know him pretty well, and it's hard to see. You have a different life from when you come in the locker room and when you walk out of there, and you hope people care more about football and doing good things than going out and getting in trouble. I hope it works out for the best for him.
"He has to learn from it. If he doesn't learn from it, then obviously everything will end fast for him; there's no other way if you want to stay in the NFL. Especially now, it seems like to me, the league is really trying to keep everyone having a good name and they want the NFL to look like a good, clean organization and they really come down hard on people that make it look bad. He has no choice but to learn from it and not do it again."
After last year's draft, Gibbs spoke at length about the amount of time and resources spent checking into Taylor's makeup and background before selecting him, but the player has been plagued by off-field issues since then.
Initial contract negotiations were delayed as Taylor went through a prolonged spell without representation after twice firing his agents before rehiring Rosenhaus. Taylor quickly became displeased with the contract -- worth a minimum of $18 million and a maximum of $40 million based on incentives -- that he had negotiated under a prior agent, and team officials met with Rosenhaus this spring to hear those concerns, although no alterations were made to that deal. After that meeting, Gibbs said he no longer believed Taylor's absence was related to his contract, although Rosenhaus never provided the club with a full explanation for Taylor's reluctance to spend time at Redskins Park this offseason.
Running back Clinton Portis, Taylor's teammate in Washington and at the University of Miami, said repeatedly that his friend needed time away from football and would ultimately report for mandatory training in good shape. Junor, Taylor's mother, said last week that her son has spent a bulk of the offseason at her house, and his great grandmother said that Taylor ate dinner at their home before going out Wednesday night, when police say this incident took place.