Whitman County declines to charge USC player

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

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The Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office declined to pursue charges against the University of Southern California football player who allegedly hit a student rushing the field after the Cougar upset of the Trojans in September.

Whitman County Prosecuting Attorney Denis Tracy sent a letter Tuesday informing both the victim and USC football player Liam Jimmons’ attorney he would decline to press assault charges against Jimmons for the incident.

“I have carefully reviewed all the information available,” Tracy wrote in the letter, “and met with [the victim] to review the case with him. I have decided not to file any criminal charges in this matter.”

This decision comes a month after the WSU Police Department recommended that the prosecutor’s office charge Jimmons with second-degree assault, a felony. A month earlier, Trojan Head Coach Clay Helton said the team had disciplined Jimmons internally.

Tracy stated in his letter that a jury would likely not find that Jimmons had reacted differently than a normal person when he extended his arms to shove the victim during their collision, or that Jimmons could have been sure he would not be injured if he collided with the victim without extending his arms.

Tracy also said the jury would not be able to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt, the level required by Washington law, that Jimmons was not justified in his actions when the crowd rushed the field with time remaining in regulation.

The letter stated that USC officials warned their players before the game that Martin Stadium could be a hostile environment, and also cited the fact that stadium announcer Glenn Johnson told the crowd USC players would need a chance to leave the field.

A USC Athletics spokesperson said the school had no comment on the decision.