Alabama football star arrested in Palmetto

PALMETTO -- Dre Kirkpatrick, 22, a member of the national champion University of Alabama football team, was arrested in Palmetto shortly before 12:48 a.m. Tuesday, and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Kirkpatrick, a starting defensive back, was a passenger in a 2012 Ford Expedition driven by Christopher Airreun Rogers, 25, a former Alabama defensive back from Lakeland who now lives in Baltimore, Md. He was arrested on the same marijuana charge, according to Lt. Scott Tyler of the Palmetto Police Department.

“I understand these are both pretty good ball players, high profile ball players,” Tyler said Tuesday. “They were traveling in the 900 block of Sixth Street West in Palmetto when Mr. Rogers was seen driving on the wrong side of the road,”

The officer who made the stop had a K9 partner and the canine, named Xent, searched for drugs, Tyler said.

“The drugs were in plain view on the passenger’s floorboard near Mr. Kirkpatrick’s feet,” Tyler said.

Both men each posted a $120 bond, Tyler said.

“I would say both men were booked and posted bail immediately,” Tyler said.

Rogers told officers he purchased the drugs from someone in a house that he was parked in front of just before officers observed him on the wrong side of the road, according to a Palmetto Police Department report.

Tyler said he had no idea why the men were in Palmetto.

IMG Academies is hosting an event for prospective NFL players, but, on Tuesday night, Kim Berard of IMG Academies would not confirm that Kirkpatrick was attending that event.

“Dre is not enrolled in any IMG programs,” Berard stated in an email.

When the two men appear before a Manatee County judge at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 21, there are many outcomes possible from no jail time to a month or so, including the possibility of community service, Tyler said.

“It would be a darn good idea to have them come back and speak to youth here in Palmetto,” Tyler said. “In my opinion, kids look up to athletes like these and, I believe, athletes do have a responsibility to kids.”