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Jaamal Berry suspended, charges filed

Ohio State running back Jaamal Berry was suspended from the OSU football team Wednesday “for violating the university’s student-athlete code of conduct,” according to a statement from the OSU department of athletics.

The suspension came after charges were filed against Berry for assault, battery and disorderly conduct. He will remain suspended pending the outcome of the case, according to a statement from the OSU department of athletics.

OSU will not be providing legal assistance for Berry.

“The Ohio State Dept. of Athletic can only provide legal assistance in the cases where eligibility is at issue,” Jerry Emig, associate director of athletics communication, said in an email.

The charges are based on an incident that occurred Oct. 21 at 2:20 a.m. on Vine Street, in the Arena District, involving Berry and a Columbus State Community College student.

An arraignment hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 1 at 9 a.m., according to court documents.

The alleged victim filed a civil lawsuit against Berry Oct. 27, for assault, battery and ethnic intimidation. The plaintiff, who requested anonymity, was “struck in the face with a closed fist,” according to the Columbus police report.

The plaintiff told The Lantern that he did not know Berry before the incident, but identified Berry as the attacker at the scene after being shown his picture by Columbus Police, and later by the prosecutor’s office.

“Plaintiff was able to make a positive identification of Jaamal Berry as his attacker,” according to court documents.

Some students agree with the decision to suspend Berry.

“If (Berry) beat someone up for no reason, then I don’t really think he should be on our football team,” said Chelsea Wiley, a third-year in strategic communication. “Kids look up to the football players.”

Trent Gardner, a second-year in business, said he thinks the football team won’t be affected.

“If he violated those rules, then he should be suspended,” Gardener said. “I feel like there’s enough talent on the team that we can carry on without him.”

On Sept. 28, Berry was involved in what an OSU police report described as an “assault” on another student. Berry was admitted and released from the OSU Medical Center and no charges were filed. In this incident, two males were witnessed “wrestling on the ground” in the South Oval, according to a police report.

In 2009, Berry was arrested on a marijuana possession charge in Miami, Fla.

Berry dressed for the Michigan State game on Oct. 1, the first game after his Sept. 28 incident. He was also dressed for the Wisconsin game on Oct. 29, the first game after he was named in a lawsuit for the second incident.

Berry, the Buckeyes’ fourth string running back, was not receiving much playing time for OSU. He has three carries on the year for five yards and two receptions for 14 yards. He was also utilized as a kick returner, compiling 150 yards on seven returns. He hasn’t had a rushing attempt since OSU’s 37-17 win over Colorado on Sept. 24.

With most experts picking OSU as a heavy favorite against Indiana, Berry may have seen playing time as a backup.

The Hoosiers, who are 1-8 on the season, rank 114th nationally in total defense and have given up an average of 51 points over the last four games.

The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Indiana at noon Saturday in Ohio Stadium.

Michael Periatt, Danielle Seamon and Katie Harriman contributed to this story.

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