FSU Sprinter Cleared After Poolside Shooting

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UPDATED 4.10.2012 by Julie Montanaro

An FSU track star and Olympic Silver Medalist is demanding an apology from Tallahassee Police.

Charges against Josh Mance were dropped Tuesday. We broke the story then and have an exclusive interview with him today.

"It was just wrong place, wrong time. It was my 21st birthday. The last thing I expected to happen is to get arrested and go to jail," Mance said Wednesday.

FSU track star and 2012 Olympian Josh Mance got word Tuesday night after practice that the state attorney's office had dismissed the charges against him.

"It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and it just gave me a burst of energy," Mance said.

Mance was arrested March 21st for resisting arrest and possession of a fake ID. His teammate Stephen Newbold was arrested for discharging a firearm in public.

Tallahassee Police were responding to a report of shots fired at the Campus Walk apartments. Mance says he and his friends were ordered to the ground at gunpoint, no questions asked.

'I felt like I was stripped of my rights at the same time. I'm sitting there telling officers one thing and they're telling me, no, I'm lying and to be stripped of your rights like that is terrible," Mance said.

The prosecutor dropped the charges Tuesday saying "While there was sufficient probable cause to arrest the Defendant on both these charges, the state is electing not to proceed to trial in this matter based on defendant's lack of criminal history and the relatively minor nature of his misconduct."

"I think the police work was done so fast, they should have done more thorough research and ask everyone whose ID is this instead of just putting it on me. After things like that happen, you know, one main thing you want is an apology and for people to know the truth." .

Tallahassee Police responded by saying:

“State Attorney Offices around the country “drop” charges every day. It is not the police departments place to prosecute a criminal case, nor is it our place to offer a reason as to why the charges were dropped. The only entity that can speak to why the case is or is not be prosecuted is the State Attorney’s Office. The State of Florida has placed the responsibility of enforcing laws on the sworn law enforcement officers who work daily to make sure their duties are carried out and to protect the citizens of Tallahassee. The officers who were on scene at the time of this incident, used the facts available to them, including statements by independent witnesses, to determine a violation of the law had occurred and subsequently placed Mr. Mance under arrest.”

Mance has been reinstated to the FSU Track team. He plans to compete at a meet this weekend and hopes to land a spot on the 4x400 meter relay team in the 2016 Olympics.

Charges are still pending against his team mate, Stephen Newbold.

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Prosecutors have dismissed charges against 21-year-old Florida State sprinter Josh Mance after a shooting incident in Tallahassee last month.

Attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. told the Associated Press Wednesday that the case against his client had been dropped.

Mance is a 2012 Olympic silver medalist. He had been charged with resisting without violence and possession of a fake ID. Pumphrey said a lie-detector test and evidence discovered during an investigation exonerated Mance from any involvement.

He and fellow track star Stephen Newbold were detained shortly after Tallahassee police arrived to investigate shots fired at an off-campus apartment complex in the early morning of March 21.

Mance had said he heard shots but didn't see them. No injuries were reported.

By: Garin Flowers
April 9, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - On March 21st, Ronell Joshua Mance's life was changed. Tallahassee police arrested the FSU Track runner and Olympian for resisting arrest and possession of a fake ID. The very next day he claimed his innocence, and now has it. The state attorney's office dropped his charges.

"I knew that Mr. Mance was going to be vindicated in this case and the information that we had provided the state attorney's office, once they took a look at that we knew that they would do the right thing and not file on this young man," Don Pumphrey, Lawyer for Joshua Mance, said.

It all started when TPD got a call about gunshots that night. They responded to campus walk apartments and stopped a group of men including Mance. Police say they searched him and found a fake I-D, belonging to another teammate that was arrested.

"The officers responded and they responded to a shots fired, unfortunately they drew their guns on Mr. Mance and Mr. Mance was just being a law abiding citizen," said Pumphrey.

Mance says he was turning 21 that night and didn't need a fake I-D. His lawyer picked up this video from nightclub the Moon. In it Mance is seen showing his real passport. Evidence that they believe helped lead to the charges being dropped.

"I just think Mr. Mance is a good young man and you know hopefully everybody will judge him not for this but for what he's done for his country," Pumphrey said.

According to Atty. Don Pumphrey

The charges against the Olympic medalist and FSU track star Joshua Mance have been dropped.

By Mike Springer
March 22, 2013

Tallahassee, FL- Attorneys for an Olympian and an FSU track member caught up in a shooting incident say their client is innocent and they have the evidence to prove it.

Surveillance footage taken from a night club is what attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. says proves client, Joshua Mance, is innocent.

The video shows Mance using a passport to enter the Moon just after midnight on his twenty-first birthday. Proof Pumphrey says shows Mance had no reason to carry a fake ID.

"The Tallahassee Police Department needs to issue a letter of apology to this young man and they need to do a further investigation," said Don Pumphrey Jr of the Law Firm of Pumphrey and Prince.

Police arrested Mance after shots were fired near the Campus Walk Apartments. He's charged with resisting arrest without violence and having a fake ID. Charges Mance denies. He says the only IDs he had on him at the time were his passport and student ID. IDs which this video shows Mance using just hours before to get into a club.

"They don't know what belongs to who and they just falsely put that identification on me," said Mance.

Mance also took a lie detector test administered by the former chief examiner for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He passed. Mance says the charges have tarnished his reputation as an Olympic athlete.

"It's done a lot of damage to my name. More than anything I just want the truth to be out," said Mance.

Mance's teammate Stephen Newbold was also arrested for the incident. Both men have been suspended from the FSU track team.

The state attorney's office has declined to comment at this time until all the evidence is received.

By: Garin Flowers
March 22, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - By now, there are reports all over the world that a FSU athlete and Olympian was arrested.

Ronell Mance, who goes by Josh, competed in the London games and won a silver medal on the U.S. 4x400 track team.

He's now facing charges after being arrested with another teammate, he says with no justification.

"As they arrested me, they said I was resisting arrest, which I can say I was not resisting arrest, no way, shape or form," Mance said.

"I completely complied and so did the rest of the group while we were being apprehended by the cops."

Tallahassee Police arrested Mance and teammate Stephen Newbold after receiving reports of gunshots hear near the Campus Walk apartments.

When police arrived, the arrest report said Newbold ran, but was later caught by a K-9 dog.

Police patted down the other men they stopped. They said Mance resisted arrest as they tried to search him while he was on the ground.

They said on him was a fake ID, belonging to Newbold, that had an altered date. Mance said police got confused with what belonged to who, especially since he didn't need the ID.

"On my 21st birthday, why would I have a fake ID? It makes no sense," he said.

"The person that was on the ID was a light skin guy with dreads and as you can see, I'm dark skinned with short hair."

Mance's lawyers didn't mind him speaking out about the incident.

"It's not that the cops are bad guys or that they're bad cops, it's just that they made assumptions and from the moment they made an assumption the entire investigation was tainted," said Nate Prince, Mance's lawyer.

Mance transferred from USC in California to FSU. He has only been in Tallahassee since January.

"All I want is justice and to prove that I'm innocent in all this so people know the truth behind everything. Because something as simple as a mistaken identification card that wasn't in the posession of myself being taken this far is crazy to me," Mance said.

Mance's lawyers said he is a good person and represented his country well in the Olympics. They plan to find more evidence in his favor and hope prosecutors drop the case.

As of now, he has been suspended from the track team, according to FSU's athletic director.

Read the original story, with the probable cause here:

FSU Athletes Arrested

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