Case against Browns draftee Caleb Brantley dropped citing insufficient evidence

Cleveland Browns draftee Caleb Brantley won't face misdemeanor battery charges after an incident in April, according to court records in Alachua County, Florida.

Court records show the case was dismissed for "insufficient evidence."

Brantley, a defensive lineman taken in the sixth round, had been accused of hitting a woman in the face in a bar in Gainesville, Florida, on April 13. Charges were not filed, but the woman filed a complaint against Brantley.

In a news release Wednesday, the state's attorney in Gainesville said there was "no reliable evidence upon which an arrest or prosecution would be warranted or legally justified," and that the matter is now closed.

"In essence, the facts suggest that the alleged victim's friends engaged Brantley in an unpleasant verbal exchange, during which the alleged victim began to physically punch or assault Brantley, causing him to shove her away," the news release said. "It is legally clear that under Florida's stand your ground law Brantley had the legal right to defend himself by pushing away someone who was punching and assaulting him. While it may not be popularly approved of or morally appropriate, that the alleged victim is a female of smaller stature than he, does not change that."

When Brantley was drafted, vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said the team would conduct its own investigation, and Brantley's spot on the roster would be dependent on those results.

"Based on our information, we understood there was a reasonable chance that the charges would be dismissed," Brown said in a statement Wednesday. "As we have previously discussed, the allegations made regarding the incident were not something we take lightly. Caleb understands that we have an expectation and standard for every member of our organization. He's a talented young man with a great opportunity in front of him. Caleb must grow as a person from this situation. He is now able to move forward and focus on earning a spot on this roster."

Brantley declined to discuss the specifics of the case last week during Browns rookie minicamp, but said he was eager to get past the complaint. He was projected as a second-round draft pick but fell to the sixth round because of the legal issues.

On Wednesday he said in a statement: "I'm grateful for today's ruling. I won't take the opportunity the Browns have given me for granted and now I can shift all my focus on working hard to make this football team while also showing my teammates, coaches, the organization and this community the type of person I really am."

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