Attorney for suspended BU standout questions woman's violence claims

Travon Blanchard with his attorney, Michelle Tuegel of Waco. (Staff photo)
Travon Blanchard with his attorney, Michelle Tuegel of Waco. (Staff photo)(KWTX)
Published: Mar. 7, 2017 at 2:07 PM CST
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The attorney for Baylor senior defensive back Travon Blanchard, who was suspended after he was named in a protective order on Feb. 28, is questioning the claims by the woman who sought the order, alleging multiple acts of violence.

The order sought by the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office says that Blanchard, whose full name is Garland Travon Blanchard, engaged in acts of violence and that there is a “threat of family violence in the future”.

It ordered Blanchard to have no communication with the woman, and to stay away from her residence.

Blanchard’s attorney, Michelle Tuegel, released a police report Tuesday that contradicts an account included in an affidavit filed in support of the order of an incident that occurred on Feb. 4 in Stafford in which the woman claimed she was assaulted.

"In this case there are different stories. In this case we are questioning the person who accused his (Blanchard) credibility and he has said from the beginning he did not assault her and he hasn't been arrested for it," she said.

The woman alleged in the affidavit that Blanchard became upset when a waiter approached her a restaurant and asked whether they knew each other.

Blanchard “began verbally abusing the applicant”, and followed her as she tried to leave, the affidavit says, and then grabbed her hand in an attempt to take her car keys and broke her finger, cutting the finger “to the point where she was unable to have it stitched.”

But according to a police event report filed after the incident at the Stafford Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, the woman told an officer that she and Blanchard argued “about a female contacting Blanchard,” paid their bill and walked outside where Blanchard “took her vehicle keys and walked away.”

As the officer questioned the woman, Blanchard waited nearby.

Blanchard’s account of the incident was the same as the woman’s, the report says, but he told the officer he didn’t have the woman’s car keys.

The woman called her mother and asked her to bring an extra set of keys to the restaurant, but after she arrived, the woman “changed her story, stating she had a small cut on her pinky finger from Blanchard pulling the keys away from her.”

In the affidavit, however, the woman claimed Blanchard attacked her and broke her finger and cut her hand so badly that the wound couldn’t be closed with stitches.

The police report makes no mention of any serious injury.

The woman told the officer, according to the report, that “Blanchard has two cases of family violence in Waco,” but Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said last week the woman has never filed a complaint against Blanchard in Waco and said no arrest warrants have been issued for the player.

Well at this point he hasn't been arrested, he wants to be able to continue his education and finish playing football,” Tuegel said.

“We understand that the university has to go through their process of looking at all of this information and we hope they will look at these inconsistencies in these problems in making an evaluation that's really going to impact a young man's life."

In an earlier incident on Jan. 17, the woman said in the affidavit that Blanchard became upset at her when she received a Snapchat message from a male friend.

The affidavit said he picked the woman up, and “began tossing and shoving the applicant around the apartment, slamming her into the sofa, bed, and walls several times causing soreness in her entire body,” the affidavit says.

In November 2016, the woman’s affidavit says Blanchard became upset about a post she made on Twitter.

It says he “grabbed both of (her) arms, backed her up roughly 10 feet, slammed her against the car, and threw her on the floor (similar to a football tackle).

On July 4, 2016, the affidavit says Blanchard became upset after the woman was having fun with some friends.

It says he “rushed the applicant, grabbed her by her wrists, began swearing and insulting her, and attempted to force himself and the applicant into her apartment.”

Friends tried to intervene but Blanchard became “increasingly violent”, and police were called, the affidavit says.

He continued to force her inside of her apartment in front of police, and let go only when “the police threatened him with an arrest for insubordination,” the affidavit says.

Besides the physical violence, the affidavit says Blanchard “controls many aspects of the applicant’s life”, including what she can wear, who she talks to, and what she posts on social media.

It also says Blanchard “damages the applicant’s property when she tries to break up with him, as well as place a joker card, otherwise known as the killer card, on her car."

But Tuegel says the inconsistencies in the woman’s account of what happened in February in Stafford raises questions about the other accusations.

“If she told so many inconsistencies in her protective order affidavit compared to the Stafford police event report, then it sure makes us question her credibility in her other stories in which she has accused Blanchard."

Blanchard is returning for his senior year as an All-Big 12 honoree, but was suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, Director of Athletic Communications David Kaye said in a brief statement last week.

"Immediately upon notification on Feb. 7, the appropriate campus student-conduct process was initiated and Blanchard was suspended indefinitely from all team related activities, pending the outcome of the investigation," Kaye said.