BLOG — The Oxford Police Department released the May 4 incident report involving Ole Miss shooting guard Marshall Henderson, who is now suspended from the Rebels. The report was made available after a record request was submitted by the EAGLE.
The incident took place at 4:39 p.m., May 4, on Hwy. 7 South. In the report, officer Shane Fortner states that while he was running radar out of the back of his patrol car, he observed a black Pontiac Grand Prix, Henderson’s vehicle, in the passing lane traveling at 68 miles-per-hour in a 55 zone. The report then states Fortner exited the shoulder of the highway and caught up to Henderson’s vehicle. The report says Henderson was asked for his driver’s license and proof of insurance. Henderson was not able to provide proof of insurance.
During the conversation, Fortner stated in the report he noticed a black backpack on the back seat and he smelled a faint odor of green marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. Henderson told Fortner he was coming from Memphis where he watched the Grizzlies play the night before. According to the report, Fortner noticed Henderson’s chest rising and falling rapidly and his hands were shaking uncontrollably. When Fortner asked Henderson why he was so nervous, Henderson said he didn’t like being around cops.
Henderson was told if his license came back from the check as valid, he would be given a warning for the speeding violation. Henderson was then instructed to continue his search for proof of insurance. During the return to the patrol car, Fortner writes in his report he requested Sgt. Mark Hodges to stop by the location with his K-9 unit so he could be deployed to investigate further if illegal narcotics were inside the vehicle.
The report goes on to say that when Sgt. Hodges arrived on the scene, he spoke with Henderson and during the conversation, Henderson picked up the backpack in the rear seating area and handed over a clear, plastic bag containing a small nugget of marijuana. Henderson was then asked to exit his vehicle and walk to the front of the patrol car. The K-9 unit was deployed, according to the report, and during the inspection, Bo, the K-9 unit, alerted on the rear passenger side door. During a search of the vehicle, the report says Sgt. Hodges uncovered a small, plastic container containing a white powdery substance in a clear plastic wrapper. The container was located in Henderson’s backpack where he had taken out the marijuana earlier and handed it to Sgt. Hodges.
The report then states that before leaving the stop location, Henderson was given a citation for no proof of liability insurance do the fact he could not produce an insurance card. He was given a court date of May 15 at 10 in the morning. The final sentence of the incident report’s first page says the white powdery substance and marijuana were both logged as evidence.
A supplemental narrative of the incident was also included by Sgt. Hodges. According to his narrative, the small amount of marijuana was listed as a misdemeanor. Hodges said Henderson then told him he did not have anything else in his vehicle. Following the positive alert by the K-9 unit, Hodges writes that he located a small container with a black screw-on lid that had a clear plastic bag inside that contained what appeared to be cocaine. Hodges asked Henderson about this and Henderson’s response, according to the narrative, was he forgot that it was in his backpack.
Sgt. Hodges then writes he contacted Metro Agent Keith Davis about the situation. Agent Davis advised Sgt. Hodges that the district attorney would not prosecute if the bag contained one tenth of a gram of cocaine. Sgt. Hodges then spoke with Fortner, the narrative says, about the conversation he had with Davis and the only charge would be a possession of paraphernalia. Both officers decided not to charge Henderson and instead give him a warning. Sgt. Hodges said that Fortner issued a traffic citation and took possession of the narcotics.
OPD Chief Joey East addressed the incident Thursday night with the EAGLE and said that officers try to work with people who are pulled over and are cooperative with officers. East stated that Henderson was not disrespectful during the stop. He said Henderson was not given any special treatment for being a member of the Ole Miss men’s basketball team and it was up to the discretion of the officers not to arrest him at that time. (July 12, 2013)