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Trooper who pulled over Dyer fired by ASP

The Arkansas State Trooper who pulled over Michael Dyer and reportedly turned off his camera and failed to properly cite the passengers for possession of marijuana was fired last Friday.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas State Police have fired a trooper accused of illegally confiscating a gun and dumping marijuana found during a traffic stop involving running back Michael Dyer, a former MVP of the national championship game who is now without a team.

A termination letter from state police commander Col. J.R. Howard released Thursday listed several actions by Cpl. Royce Denney during the March 10 traffic stop that suggested he was "unable to conform to the standards of professionalism" expected of a trooper. Denney has appealed and his attorney, Jeff Rosenweig, declined comment

The letter cites Denney for failing "to conform to law and (using) poor judgment" by confiscating without legal justification a gun found during the traffic stop of a car driven by Dyer, not long after the former Auburn star joined Arkansas State and coach Gus Malzahn. The letter says the trooper disposed of potential evidence by dumping the alleged marijuana at the roadside and improperly turned off the video recorder in his cruiser during the stop.

Audio and some video from the 58-minute stop was recorded and revealed that Denney spoke at length with Dyer about how he should handle getting in trouble.

"What if I talk to Gus Malzahn, or however you say his name?" Denney asked. "I really don't want to tell him about this because of the NCAA crap. I know there's a lot of stuff that goes on behind closed doors between coaches and players. I'm still in a predicament, even if I talk to coach."

Denney scolded Dyer for allegedly having a gun, saying: "You don't need it. If you think it makes you look cool, you're stupid."

"It pisses me off that someone of your stature and your ability does this kind of stupid (expletive)," Denney said. The trooper asked Dyer if he wanted him to hold onto the gun, and Dyer said he did.

"I didn't say keep it," Denney responded. "Maybe we can get together some other time, and you can have it back after me and coach talk."

The termination letter says Denney had been disciplined three months earlier for failing to conform to the law and using poor judgment during a separate traffic stop.

"Your conduct leaves me with no other choice than to terminate your employment with the Arkansas State Police," Howard wrote.

Malzahn, who left Auburn to return to his home state and the school in Jonesboro, opened practice Thursday. Dyer, who had been suspended indefinitely by Auburn coach Gene Chizik after last season's Chick-fil-A Bowl, had followed Malzahn to Arkansas State.

Malzahn dismissed Dyer from the team last week after revelations about the traffic stop, in which Dyer was ticketed for going 96 mph in a 70 mph zone.

A university spokesman said it wouldn't be appropriate to weigh in on a police matter.

"It's a state police matter being handled separately from ASU and we'll respect that the state police are handling it internally," ASU spokesman Jerry Scott said.

On the other side of the state, trooper Capt. Jeffrey Lance King was cited by the Arkansas Ethics Commission earlier this year after he asked the panel to look at whether he received improper gifts from the Arkansas football program.

Former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino summoned King after he wrecked a motorcycle last spring while riding with a female employee on the back. Athletic director Jeff Long fired Petrino on April 10, saying Petrino had a conflict of interest by hiring Jessica Dorrell as a football program coordinator without disclosing they had an affair.

State police looked at the relationship between Petrino and King, who accepted about $3,000 worth of tickets and Razorback gear while assigned to Petrino. The agency found no laws were broken.

Dyer was a star at Little Rock Christian High School and was a top-rated recruit when Auburn landed him. He was the first Auburn tailback to rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, including a 1,093-yard performance as a freshman that broke Bo Jackson's school record of 892 yards set in 1982. Dyer rushed for 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He was also the offensive MVP as a freshman in Auburn's victory over Oregon in the 2011 championship game.

Dyer transferred to the Arkansas State in Jonesboro in January, and the school tried unsuccessfully to convince the NCAA to let him play in the coming season.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

State police looking into Dyer traffic stop

7/30 story via the Associated Press

A state trooper who found marijuana and a gun in a car driven by Arkansas State running back Michael Dyer offered to call his coach even though he worried about "NCAA crap" and other fallout, according to video of a traffic stop released Monday.

Arkansas State Police released the 58-minute video and said it had completed an internal investigation into the March 10 stop. It released no details about the investigation, saying it involved personnel matters almost certainly tied to the actions of Trooper Royce Denney.

Dyer was ticketed for going 96 mph in a 70 mph zone, though audio and video from the stop indicate that either Dyer or another unidentified female were in possession of marijuana and a gun. Denney can be heard on the video talking at length with Dyer about how he should handle the incident.

"What if I talk to (coach) Gus Malzahn, or however you say his name?" Denney asks at one point. "I really don't want to tell him about this because of the NCAA crap. I know there's a lot of stuff that goes on behind closed doors between coaches and players. I'm still in a predicament, even if I talk to coach."

Denney also asks Dyer: "What about the weed?" and whether the running back thought it would be "all out of your system" in a month. He berates Dyer for having a gun, saying "You don't need it. If you think it makes you look cool, you're stupid."

"It pisses me off that someone of your stature and your ability does this kind of stupid (expletive)," Denney adds.

The trooper also asked Dyer if the running back wanted him to hold on to the gun, and Dyer says yes.

"I didn't say keep it," Denney responds. "Maybe we can get together some other time, and you can have it back after me and coach talk. You understand? ... I'm going to let coach make the decision for me. Or, for you. If he wants me to keep it, I'll keep it. If he wants me to get it delivered to him, I'll get it delivered to him or whatever."

It was unclear whether the trooper contacted Malzahn or Arkansas State about the traffic stop. The Associated Press requested comment from Malzahn at midday Monday. State police spokesman Bill Sadler said Denney is not currently conducting patrols.

Malzahn coached Dyer at Auburn, and recruited the running back to Arkansas State after he was hired to coach the Red Wolves. He dismissed the running back from the team over the weekend, citing an unspecified violation of team rules.

Dyer, the offensive MVP as a freshman in Auburn's victory over Oregon in the 2011 national championship game, transferred to Arkansas State in January after he was suspended indefinitely by Auburn coach Gene Chizik for violating unspecified team rules before the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He was the first Tigers tailback to rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, including a 1,093-yard performance as a freshman that broke Bo Jackson's school record of 892 yards set in 1982. Dyer rushed for 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

Following his transfer to the Red Wolves, Dyer appealed to the NCAA to play this season rather than sit out as required. After he was denied, Dyer said at a July 20 news conference that he was happy at Arkansas State and looking forward to helping his new teammates.

Malzahn, who was Dyer's offensive coordinator at Auburn, stood next to Dyer at the news conference and professed his excitement for Dyer's future with the Red Wolves. That excitement turned to resignation Sunday evening when Arkansas State released a statement saying Dyer had been dismissed.

"I am truly disappointed that it didn't work out here at ASU for Mike," Malzahn said in the statement. "I wish Mike nothing but the best in the future."

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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