*UPDATED* Rees was charged with four misdemeanors and was released from jail Thursday on a $250 bond. Rees was fortunate he was not charged with the felony battery, which originally led to his arrest. If Rees had been charged with a felony, Notre Dame could have reserved "the right to take summary action and temporarily dismiss the student," according to the school's disciplinary code.
According to prosecutors, Rees refused to stop running as officers pursued him. A passing cabdriver pulled over in a position to block Rees, prosecutors said, and Rees lifted his right knee into the lower chest area of an approaching officer, "knocking the wind out of him."
The cabdriver grabbed Rees "in order to keep him from running away," prosecutors said, and Rees was pepper-sprayed when he continued to struggle against police and the cabdriver on the pavement. That resulted in the misdemeanor battery charge for what prosecutors deemed "rude, angry or insolent" contact.
Kelly said in a statement Thursday he was still gathering information about the incident and that he would withhold disciplinary action until he spoke with Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese.
Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees is currently sitting in jail after being arrested on a preliminary felony charge following a confrontation with police during a house party early Thursday morning.
Rees, 19, was arrested for resisting police, felony battery to law enforcement, minor consumption and public intoxication. Rees remains in jail while he awaits charges to be filed against him. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rees could be arraigned this afternoon or might have to spend another night in custody. The police have 48 hours to charge Rees.
South Bend Police Capt. Phil Trent told the paper Rees lifted a knee to an officer during the arrest and had to be pepper sprayed while on the ground.
"It wasn't terribly violent, but it was enough to be considered resisting," Trent said.
One officer suffered a minor scrape and "had the wind knocked out of him," Trent told the paper.
Notre Dame reserve linebacker Carlo Calabrese, 21, who also was at the party, tried to intervene on Rees' behalf, was told to step away and shouted to police, "My people will get you." He was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct and was released on a $150 bond.
Rees' blood alcohol level was .11 and Calabrese's was .12.
Rees started 12 of 13 games last year and was part of a four-player race to earn the starting nod this season. Coach Brian Kelly is in town and the university has been alerted to the situation.
"The university is aware of this incident and is confident that it will be handled in a prompt and professional manner through the criminal justice system," Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown said in a statement. "Internal discipline is handled privately, in accord with our own policies and federal law."
This isn't the first time Kelly has had to deal with an incident relating to alcohol. Former receiver Michael Floyd had three alcohol-related arrests while at Notre Dame, including a DUI arrest last March. Kelly "suspended" Floyd for four and a half months, which essentially kept him out of spring workouts, but he was allowed to participate in voluntary workouts and didn't miss a game. Kelly took some heat for his treatment of the situation, but Kelly maintained he would have kept Floyd out the entire season if he felt he hadn't learned his lesson.
However, the difference here is that Floyd was the star receiver and Rees is replaceable.
Now before a campaign is mounted to get Rees out of Notre Dame, charges have to be filed. The severity of those charges will determine Rees' fate. It's possible charges could be dropped and Rees could walk away. In any case, it's at Notre Dame's discretion to dish out its own punishment.
Kelly could make an example of Rees, especially, and I'm pointing out the obvious here, with three talented quarterbacks waiting in the wings. With Floyd, Kelly maintained that suspending him one or two games would not have been an adequate punishment. He said Floyd would miss all of the season or none of the season. I wonder if the same edict will apply here? Does Rees serve a summer suspension where he reaffirms his commitment to the team and all is right come the fall? Or is Rees going to be held to a different standard?
Notre Dame will definitely be under the microscope during this ordeal. There have been multiple incidents — Floyd's arrest, an unknown football player accused of sexual assault, and the untimely death of student assistant Declan Sullivan because of Notre Dame's negligence — that have resulted in little or no punishment and have caused public outcry. How Kelly handles this situation will no doubt create a national debate.