Des Moines police emphatically denied allegations by the agent of a mixed martial arts fighter arrested on felony assault charges last week that authorities deliberately arrested him before a nationally televised fight.
Jeremy Dean Stephens, 26, a Des Moines native, was arrested in Minnesota last week on a Des Moines warrant for willful injury and assault causing bodily injury. Authorities arrested Stephens, who is a veteran lightweight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, hours before a nationally televised fight, causing him to miss his bout despite the best efforts of fight promoters to see him released.
While his agent accused authorities of acting in bad faith and deliberately waiting until just before the fight to arrest Stephens, police officials insisted the fight was their only chance to serve a warrant on the San Diego man.
“It wasn’t personal. We gave him several opportunities to turn himself in. He’s had a year to take care of it,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Joe Leo. “
The crime Stephens was arrested for reportedly occurred almost a year ago, on Oct. 15, 2011.
According to police reports, the victim and his wife were at Fat Tony’s, 1500 SE 1st St., with Stephens and Dustin James Bachman, 27.
The victim had reportedly been asked to leave the bar and was still in the parking lot when Stephens and Bachman emerged soon after.
According to the victim’s wife, Stephens punched the victim in the left eye. The victim leaned against the building and Bachman punched him on the head and face several times, police said.
The victim’s wife helped him get into their car and was trying to lock the doors when Bachman reportedly pulled the victim out of the vehicle by his feet. Stephens and Bachman then allegedly punched and kicked the victim on his head and body for about a minute, authorities said.
The suspects fled. The victim was unconscious and stopped breathing twice, police reports show. He was intubated and taken to the hospital in critical condition.