Officials in South Carolina have dropped misdemeanor cocaine charges against Georgia Southern starting quarterback Shai Werts after the substance found on the hood of his car was determined to be bird poop.
According to WTOC, the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office released bodycam footage of Werts’ July 31 arrest on Friday, a day after releasing dashcam and in-car footage. The bodycam footage also comes after Georgia Southern announced that Werts’ indefinite suspension was lifted in light of the dismissed drug charge.
The local news station reported that officials released 30 minutes of footage from last month’s incident, which started when officers pulled Werts over for speeding. Werts, 21, was filmed saying that he didn’t immediately stop because he didn’t feel comfortable stopping on a remote, dark road.
The college quarterback goes on to mention that he called 911 and told them that he was planning to stop in Saluda, as that area was better lit.
“I’m not going to pull over in the dark where no one around can see,” he says. “You know what’s been going on in the world. No offense to you, but I just didn’t feel comfortable, officer.”
Officers immediately zero in on an unknown white substance on the Werts’ 2016 Dodge Charger. From the back of a patrol car, Werts is heard repeatedly telling officers that it’s bird poop on the car hood and that he tried to clean it earlier.
Werts is instantly met with incredulity by an officer whose body camera catches him conducting a field test on the mystery substance. Moments later, he signals to another officer to show him the test came back “pink,” meaning it’s positive for cocaine.
An officer walks back to the patrol car to tell Werts he’s under arrest because there’s cocaine on the car hood. Werts is heard reiterating that it’s bird poop.
Meanwhile, cops inspecting Werts’ Charger realize he’s a football player due to a sticker on the car and equipment in the backseat.
“I have no reason to lie to you about cocaine,” he says. “I play football, so I don’t do cocaine.”
Despite his suspension, Werts was allowed to practice with the team because he passed a drug test. The Savannah Morning News reported that the star quarterback was in a meeting with coaches and teammates Thursday when he received word from his attorney that the charges were dropped.
Al Eargle, the Deputy Solicitor for the 11th Judicial Circuit, told the Morning News that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said additional testing confirmed that no controlled substances were present in the samples taken from Werts’ car. The news outlet reported that two officers initially received positive reads on field tests, which used samples from two different spots on the hood.
“The Solicitor’s Office has begun the expungement process to have this charge removed from the system to ensure that this arrest and charge does not create a criminal history for Werts,” prosecutors told TMZ.
[Featured image: Saluda County Sheriff’s Office video screengrab]