Speaking publicly for the first time since his April arrest, University of Miami running back Mark Walton said in the moments he was handcuffed by City of Miami police, he worried for “my life.”
“My whole life. That’s the first in my head,” Walton said. “Everything I worked for was going down the drain. I didn’t know what I was going to jail for or what I was getting arrested for that night. I was thinking about my whole life.”
The football program suspended Walton as he faced DUI and driving with a suspended license charges. He was reinstated to the team after the state attorney declined to prosecute either charge.
“I’m happy all this is over with. my biggest thing about this whole situation is the way they put dirt on my name,” Walton said. “I’m just happy things came out the way they’re supposed to come out. Hopefully, people will look at me the same way that they did before the situation.”
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His arrest happened in front of the home of a young woman who had filed a complaint with the Miami Police Department. The complaint said Walton impersonated an officer after stopping her on the road.
Walton’s attorney, Joey McCall, claimed the arrest was the result of a setup: the young woman texted Walton to get him to come to her home and Miami police jumped out on him there.
But when they found no evidence of officer impersonation, McCall claims, they went for the DUI and license violations.
Walton never was charged with impersonating an officer.
“Because someone made the decision to say, this person told me this, I believe them, I’m going to do whatever I have to do to arrest that person,” McCall said.
David J. Neal
▪ Women’s basketball: Former FIU coach Cindy Russo was elected to the Atlantic Sun Conference Hall of Fame. Russo turned FIU into a conference powerhouse, winning eight regular season titles, including seven straight. She guided the Panthers to six conference championships, including four in a row from 1992-95 in the ASUN (formerly the Trans America Athletic Conference). Her players received numerous conference honors, including three TAAC Conference Players of the Year, five tournament MVPs, seven All-Americans and 26 All-Conference selections. The induction ceremony is Oct. 17 in Jacksonville.
▪ Track and field: Former FIU standout long jumper Aubrey Smith will represent Jamaica in the 2016 Rio Olympic. Smith competed at FIU for two seasons (2012-14). He was a Second-Team All-Conference USA selection in 2014. after claiming the silver medal in the long jump at the C-USA Championships. His jump of 7.8 meters set the FIU outdoor record.