Butler was charged with resisting law enforcement and battery of an officer after he allegedly tackled a policeman outside of a South Bend bar and hit him in the stomach and side areas early Saturday morning. Both felonies are Level 6, which could lead to up to 2 1/2 years of prison time.
Butler was immediately suspended from the team on an indefinite basis after the incident. A school spokesperson said that any student arrested on a felony charge faces a potential dismissal from the university.
Butler’s girlfriend and the fiancee of a teammate dispute the police account of what happened.
“He was abused, and wrongly arrested,” Haleigh Bailey, Butler’s girlfriend, told The South Bend Tribune. “He never tackled an officer and he never intentionally hurt anyone. He had no reason to be tazed because he was never resisting arrest, and he was already on the ground complying when they tazed him.”
Selina Bell, the fiancee of Torii Hunter Jr., echoed Bailey.
“I don't know who they're trying to reference him hitting or pushing, because he didn't do that to anyone. But he was holding his girlfriend and protecting her,” Bell said. “He 100 percent never hit her, pulled her, pushed her, grabbed her forcefully at all.”
Butler has appeared in 37 games and made three starts in his career at Notre Dame, making 39 tackles and one interception.
Five other Irish players were arrested in a separate incident over the weekend, charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana following a traffic stop on Friday night. Safety Max Redfield was dismissed from the team and among three of those players charged with misdemeanor possession of a gun without a license.