By: Ashley Harding
The former Husker and New England Patriot is accused of assaulting a Lincoln police officer outside a bar last April. He's looking at three charges in the case. Tuesday, both sides introduced opening arguments and testimony got quickly underway.
23-year old Alfonzo Dennard arrives for another day of trial at the Lancaster County Courthouse. The officer involved in his case took the stand to tell his side of the story. Officer Benjamin Kopsa says that night, he saw Dennard exchanging words with someone. As he walked away, he says he saw him punch a young college man in the face. He says after he tried to arrest him, Dennard backed away from him. At one point, while he was trying to place him under arrest, Kopsa says Dennard swatted his hands down, then punched him in the jaw.
"It felt like a very hard object hitting me right in the jaw. It jarred me back. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the least amount and 10 is the most, it felt like an 8. It confused me for a second," said Kopsa.
He says Dennard was then tackled by another officer and was taken to the jail. This version of events differs quite a bit from the explanation presented by Dennard's attorney, Terry Dougherty. During his opening statement, Dougherty told the jury his client will admit to resisting arrest, but says he didn't assault the officer. He said Dennard got into a pushing match with another student, but someone else in the crowd punched that student in the face. He then said Officer Kopsa grabbed him from behind. Dougherty said his client thought he was being attacked, so he raised his elbow and swung around to break free.
"I believe the assault against the officer was self defense since he didn't know who was behind him," said Dougherty.
An audio recording was played closer to the end of the day. In it, Dennard is heard apologizing to the officer once inside the police car. His attorney also says his client will take the stand in his own defense later this week. The trial resumes Wednesday morning.