Assault charge from bar fight at root of Jenifer suspension


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Keith Jenifer's indefinite suspension, announced Monday by Virginia coach Pete Gillen, was the result of the point guard's arrest early Sunday morning on assault and battery charges.

At the time of the suspension, Gillen announced it was for "conduct detrimental to the team."

Jenifer, a sophomore from Baltimore who was a star player at Towson Catholic, allegedly punched another student outside O'Neill's Pub on University Avenue shortly after midnight. His initial appearance in Charlottesville General District Court will be Feb. 28.

"An officer was driving by one of the bars and rode up on a disorder," said Sgt. David Jones of the Charlottesville Police Department.

"Several individuals were involved and they appeared to be throwing punches. The officer exited his vehicle to break up the disorder and saw several black males on top of a single white male. And one of the individuals was recognized as Mr. Jenifer."

According to the arrest report, Karl Brimmer claimed Jenifer punched him in the face with his left hand after the two exchanged words. Brimmer said others, who were not identified, then jumped on him.

After the alleged attack, Brimmer sprinted away, according to the report. The officer told the others involved to stay where they were and chased Brimmer. When the officer returned, everybody had left. But Jenifer later returned, Jones said.

Jenifer told police he was defending himself after Brimmer swung at him first, according to the report.

Gillen would not elaborate on Jenifer's suspension during yesterday morning's Atlantic Coast Conference teleconference call. A statement released by the university on Monday night said Jenifer would neither play nor practice with the team during his suspension.

Jenifer, who would have had a homecoming Thurday when Virginia visits Maryland, was unavailable for comment.

Jenifer had started 14 of Virginia's 19 games this season and was the team's assists leader at 5.5 a game. His playing time had decreased since Majestic Mapp's return in early January.

Dave Johnson is a reporter for the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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