Compared to the ugliness SU fans braced for, Chase Scanlan being arrested on a misdemeanor today felt extremely light. Friday morning on South Campus, Scanlan was arrested on what amounts to a destroyed phone. While fears of something far worse had built in CNY since the team threatened to walk out, a broken iPhone may be just the beginning. The DA says Scanlan has been accused of an altercation and destroying a phone. Scanlan was arraigned later in the afternoon in Syracuse City Court. He will be automatically released under state law because the charge is not serious enough to set bail, Onondaga County AD William Fitzpatrick confirmed to Syracuse.com.
Scanlan was arrested while walking into practice, which feels like some type of symbolism on a gameday before the regular season finale. Reportedly none of his teammates were present. He was also charged with harassment. But to show you how light that penalty is, it did not influence the arrest. Harassment is a non-criminal charge, just like a traffic ticket. An important fact: in New York, there have to be provable injuries from the dispute to charge with assault. Just a physical attack is not enough. So Scanlan could be guilty of an attack on the victim, but unless there’s injuries there can be no assault charge.
The broken wall on South Campus however, was not deemed connected to this incident. It was determined it was separate, which is likely the reason for a harassment charge. The DA was sensitive to the criticism the department didn’t take domestic violence seriously enough, and the lack of action in the case.
“Hopefully, today’s arrest will put to rest the rumors that have been running rampant about this incident for the last couple of weeks and send a message that we take all incidents of domestic violence seriously, no matter where they are committed or by whom they are committed.” – William Fitzpatrick, District Attorney
The big takeaway however, is that the DA made it known the investigation is ongoing. Pretty clearly authorities are considering the possibility something more happened than just a broken phone and a previously busted wall. And that would seem to align with the SU players. The captains and team threatened to walk-out on their own season, give up everything they love before the NCAA Tournament, just to distance themselves from Scanlan. They demanded a meeting with the AD. They clearly are under the impression this is about more than a cracked phone screen.
For the moment the arrest may give the SU lacrosse program the legal cover to keep Scanlan suspended and away from the team. John Desko has been walking a delicate (and confusing) line of suspension for games, but not for practice. Yet Scanlan has been forced to work out separately on his own. There’s been a perplexing degree of guilty vs. innocence tradeoffs. SU lax will find out its postseason seeding this weekend, and then try to prepare after one of the most tumultuous periods in program history. This arrest gives a semblance of closure to one question. Will Scanlan rejoin the team this season? Probably not. But does it keep open the potential of more being uncovered? Yes.