Battery charge dropped against KU basketball player Carlton Bragg Jr.; accuser charged based on video
A battery charge filed against University of Kansas basketball player Carlton Bragg Jr. was dropped Wednesday and another charge was filed against the woman who accused him of striking her.
Video evidence shows that Bragg, 21, acted in self defense during an argument with Saleeha Soofi, 19, early on Friday in the 1000 block of Emery Road, according to a news release from the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.
Soofi is also a KU student.
Before Bragg’s misdemeanor battery charge was dropped, his attorney, Hatem Chahine, stated in court filings arguing for self-defense that the altercation started when Soofi “was accusing Mr. Bragg of sleeping with her best friend.”
Soofi was “under the influence of alcohol” at the time, Chahine wrote, and she and Bragg were at the Delta Upsilon fraternity house, 1025 Emery Road.
According to a Lawrence Police Department incident report, drugs and alcohol are suspected to have been involved in the incident.
“As Mr. Bragg began to explain his side of the situation, Ms. Soofi began yelling … and struck Mr. Bragg with an open palm on the right side of the face,” Chahine wrote.
Soofi then “continued to yell and hit” Bragg, who tried to block her hands after he was slapped about eight times, Chahine wrote.
The Journal-World has submitted a request for Bragg’s arrest affidavit, which is a document filed by police explaining the grounds for an arrest.
That request has not yet been fulfilled, and on Tuesday Chahine filed an objection to the request, arguing the document could damage Bragg’s reputation and prevent a fair and impartial trial.
Bragg was arrested Friday and released later that afternoon after posting a $500 bond.
After the incident, police reviewed surveillance video from the scene, the district attorney’s news release said.
The video showed a man and a woman arguing in a stairwell, the release said.
During the argument the woman slapped the man in the chest “numerous times” and placed her hands near his neck at least twice, the release said.
After being hit, the man “forcefully shoves her away from him causing the female to fall backwards up the ascending stairs behind her,” the release said.
Soofi was also arrested Friday on suspicion of battery, but no charges were initially filed and she was released over the weekend.
The single battery charge was filed against Soofi on Wednesday.
Battery is knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm to another person, or causing physical contact with another person in a rude, insulting or angry manner, according to the Kansas statute. The crime is punishable by a fine or jail time up to six months.
Soofi has been ordered to appear in Douglas County District Court on Jan. 25, when she will be formally charged.
After his arrest Bragg was suspended from the basketball team, but on Wednesday KU’s head basketball coach, Bill Self, said the suspension had been lifted.
“As we have said since the incident occurred, it was important for us to take this issue seriously and to allow the process to play out,” Self said in a written news release. “We appreciate the authorities handling this issue in a timely manner.”
In the same news release Bragg expressed relief.
“This has been a difficult and humiliating experience for me, and I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “I appreciate the authorities taking the time to get this right. I also appreciate the support of my teammates and coaches, and I’m glad I can put this behind me and move forward.”