Former Cal football player Damariay Drew, accused of kicking a fellow student’s dog and breaking the jaw of its owner, is returning to UC Berkeley in the fall and looking to regain his spot on the team.
On Monday, a judge reduced 21-year-old Drew’s conviction from a felony assault to a misdemeanor. Drew’s attorney, Darryl Stallworth, said the reduced conviction is a result of Drew’s efforts in the last year to “show he’s worthy of another chance.”
According to a police affidavit, Drew was arrested for punching Matthew Lavine-Edwards and breaking his jaw during a fundraiser at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house May 4, 2014. According to Drew, Lavine-Edwards’ dog, a 20-pound Jack Russell terrier mix, bit him. But according to Lavine-Edwards, Drew kicked his dog. The incident resulted in Drew’s indefinite suspension from both the campus and the team.
Punching someone is a misdemeanor, but the severity of the injuries sustained by Lavine-Edwards made Drew’s case a felony, according to Stallworth. In court, Drew pled “no contest,” and the judge found him guilty. Stallworth said that because Drew’s case was considered a “wobbler” — which could be considered either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the case — his conviction could be reduced.
According to Stallworth, Drew “recognized that he made a mistake and needed to take accountability for it.” In addition to meeting all the requirements for readmittance to UC Berkeley, Drew has been attending Butte College, doing community service at a Boys & Girls Club and taking anger management classes.
Wesley Mallette, associate athletics director for Cal Athletics, said in a statement that Drew reapplied to UC Berkeley “on his own” and was accepted after satisfying “all the academic and student conduct requirements set forth by our campus.” As long as he remains in good standing, Drew will be eligible to try out for the football team in fall.
Drew was recruited to the Cal football team from Livermore High School in 2012 as a safety. As a redshirt freshman in 2013, he played in all 12 games and made 52 tackles over the course of the season.
According to Stallworth, Drew has spent the last year “getting himself together.” Since leaving campus, Drew has been living with family and occasionally his friends. His academic interests include business, law and sociology.
If Drew continues to exhibit good behavior, Stallworth said he would petition the court after a period of time to end Drew’s probation early and would eventually work to clear the incident from Drew’s record.