A day after his lawyer said he had affidavits proving his innocence, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar surrendered to the Miramar, Florida, Police Department on four felony charges of armed robbery.
The charges stem from an incident late Wednesday night in Miramar in which both Dunbar and New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker were alleged, along with a third man, to steal at gunpoint more than $12,000 in cash and $63,000 in jewelry.
Baker surrendered earlier Saturday morning.
Dunbar will stay overnight in Broward County jail and appear in Broward County Court on Sunday morning, expected to be at 8:30 a.m. local time — as is standard for a hearing to be held within 24 hours after surrendering — at which time bond will be set.
Miramar police announced Thursday afternoon that warrants had been issued for both Baker and Dunbar in connection with the incident.
Dunbar’s lawyer Michael Grieco announced Friday he had affidavits from five witnesses — the same five who were in the initial police report — stating that Dunbar was not involved and that he hoped the warrant would be recalled.
But the Miramar PD said that the warrants still stood and that they had no new information to reconsider the warrants, with information officer Tania Rues saying none of the five witnesses had come to them to change their story.
“We couldn’t wait any longer,” Grieco told The Seattle Times in confirming that Dunbar had turned himself in.
“Today our client (Quinton) Dunbar voluntarily surrendered at the Broward County jail pursuant to a bogus arrest warrant based solely on uncorroborated witness statements that have since been recanted. As I write this an innocent man sits in jail, facing charges that hold no water,” Grieco wrote on Twitter.
The Miramar PD tweeted a confirmation that each man had turned himself in while stating no additional information would be provided. Baker’s lawyer, Brad Cohen, also released a statement confirming that Baker had turned himself in while stating that he has seven affidavits and video evidence that prove Baker’s innocence.
On Instagram, Grieco again criticized the Miramar Police Department, as he had in media interviews Friday, writing: “His career and reputation have been put in jeopardy as a result of an overzealous (Miramar Police Department) that was so excited about arresting a pro football player that they tweeted out their celebration and even tagged his employer in their ‘virtual touchdown dance.’ When this case gets dropped I wonder if the Miramar cops will be tweeting out their apology. In my 20-year criminal justice career I have rarely seen an injustice like this. (Dunbar) has never been in trouble before, and to think he’s now sitting in jail risking his health during a pandemic due to recanted false allegations makes me sick. This is when the prosecutors can correct the wrongs committed by the police’s rush to judgment.”
Saturday’s events are the latest turn in what has been a stunning few days involving a player who was one of the Seahawks’ key offseason acquisitions.
In March, Seattle dealt a fifth-round pick to Washington to acquire Dunbar, who appeared on his way to a possible Pro Bowl berth last season before a late-season hamstring issue put him on Injured Reserve, which some regarded as a surprisingly low price.
The caveats were that Dunbar had played just 18 games the past two seasons due to injury and was entering the final year of his contract and was going to want to get paid big to stay. A dispute over his contract was why he had been on the trading block in the first place (and reports out of Washington stated that no team offered more than the Seahawks).
Still, Seattle was exceedingly happy to have Dunbar in the fold for at least the 2020 season to hopefully improve a pass defense that was exposed throughout the 2019 season, the first in which not a single member of the famed Legion of Boom secondary suited up for the Seahawks since coach Pete Carroll arrived in 2010.
“I’m excited about this guy,” Carroll said last month of the 6-foot-2, 202-pound Dunbar. “He’s a playmaker, and we need depth at corner.”
And while Dunbar had gone public with his frustration over his contract in Washington and first-year coach Ron Rivera signed off on trading him with the team in rebuilding mode, Dunbar didn’t have a reputation as a malcontent.
Dunbar was a receiver at Florida who had gone undrafted and then signed by Washington in 2015 and almost immediately moved to cornerback, making a quick transition to a new position. He progressed so quickly, in fact, that Washington signed him to a three-year, $10.5 million deal on Jan. 1, 2018, making him a centerpiece of their defense.
He became a full-time starter the past two years and last season was rated by Pro Football Focus as the second-best in the league after Richard Sherman.
A check of police records shows Dunbar has had more than 20 traffic violations over the last few years but no infractions of a more serious nature.
“He’s not a problem,’’ former UW Husky standout Ray Horton, who was Dunbar’s position coach last year at Washington, told the Times in March. “He’s a joy to work with. He works hard, he pushes himself, and he pushes his teammates. But there’s no nothing wrong with that kind of a player. You want that kind of a player.’’
In that interview, Horton told The Times that Dunbar would remind Seattle fans of a young Sherman.
“Because of the style of play, the hands, the anticipation, the former wide receiver, the competitiveness,” Horton said. “Really, that’s what you are getting is a young Richard Sherman. And this kid is hungry. He wants to be good.’’
In what became an odd subplot, Dunbar talked to media who cover the Seahawks in a Zoom video call Thursday morning, roughly 12 hours after police arrived at a house in Miramar responding to the call — and about eight hours before news broke of the charges.
The call lasted roughly 14 minutes and Dunbar — who said he was doing the call from his residence in the Overtown area of Miami — answered questions politely and amiably, talking enthusiastically of how it was nice to have been “wanted’’ by the Seahawks and how he hoped to repay the team in “the way I carry myself as a person and as a player.’’
Dunbar had already made a winning impression on some fans when he sang a few verses of “Let It Go,’’ the song from Frozen, during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle a few days after his trade, saying having to stay inside due to the coronavirus outbreak had led to some additional karoke sessions with his 3-year-old daughter.
“I mean I have a beautiful daughter who’s 3 years old, and outside of football that’s what I enjoy doing,” he said to 710 ESPN Seattle. “Being with her and being around her and creating those moments with her. So that’s what I do best outside of football.”
Those images obviously are at extreme odds with the portrayal of the armed robbery in the incident report issued from the Miramar Police Department, which painted the incident as a potential revenge robbery for losses suffered while gambling two days earlier (one witness quoted in the police report said Baker and Dunbar had lost roughly $70,000 at a high-stakes card game two days earlier).
Dunbar, Baker and a third unidentified man are accused of robbing men at a cookout. Baker is alleged to have waved a gun at one man and threatened to have another shot.
Three high-priced cars were parked outside, according to a witness in the the police report, in a manner that suggested a quick getaway and that the robbery had been planned.
At dispute in the report is whether Dunbar had a gun — three witnesses said he did not while another said he did.
Regardless, police said there was enough evidence to file charges for armed robbery, though Dunbar did not get the additional charge of aggravated assault with a weapon that was levied at Baker, who was a first-round pick of the Giants in 2019.
That Dunbar faces four first-degree felony counts means he could be facing stiff prison time, though deals can obviously be reached. But Florida law mandates a minimum 10-year sentence for a robbery with a gun. That no gun was fired, and that it’s unclear whether Dunbar had a gun, could mitigate things.
The Seahawks on Thursday said only that they were aware of the situation and deferred all comment to league investigators and authorities.
The NFL can hand down suspensions of its own independent of any legal action. The process for doing so under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy was changed somewhat in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime,’’ reads a section of the conduct policy.
Dunbar’s contract has a $3.421 million salary-cap hit for the 2020 season, including $3.25 million in base salary.
None is guaranteed, and the Seahawks would save $3.421 million against the cap if he is released either before or after June 1. Seattle has in the past cut players for reported involvement in crimes before they became legally adjudicated, maybe most notably in recent years cutting quarterback Trevone Boykin in the spring of 2018 after a report of a domestic-violence incident, though that had been the latest of several incidents for Boykin.