Tennessee football player arrested after punching police officer, Miami Beach cops say

Kenneth George Jr.
Kenneth George Jr. Miami-Dade Corrections

A University of Tennessee football player was arrested early Thursday during the school’s Spring Break after punching a cop in South Beach, according to an arrest affidavit.

Kenneth George, Jr., 22 faces charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an arrest without violence, resisting an arrest with violence and disorderly conduct.

The affidavit says George was walking in a westbound lane of Española Way around 3:25 a.m. After Officer Denny Hernandez parked his cruiser to block car traffic for officers trying to deal with a violent person on the street, he says he got out to the 195-pound George loudly cursing at him and walking toward him.

George, the affidavit’s narrative continues, “refused verbal commands and continued walking towards” Hernandez. When Hernandez tried to get George on the sidewalk and away from the other confrontation, George “punched officer Hernandez with a closed fist on the left side of the head. As [George] punched Officer Hernandez, he knocked his police radio out of his hand...”

Hernandez tried to grab George by the shirt, but he pulled away and ran east toward Collins Avenue, then swung south. George then reversed back west to Española Way and Washington Avenue, where two Beach cops halted him. The affidavit says George burst forth with “He hit me first, why can’t I hit him back?”

Miami Beach Fire Rescue treated “three significant abrasions” on Hernandez’s knee and elbow.

George transferred to Tennessee in 2018 after one redshirt year and one active season at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. He played in four games last season, making three tackles.

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.