RACINE — The Racine County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday released body camera footage of Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith being pulled over, handcuffed, put in a squad car, and cited for speeding and possession of marijuana during a September traffic stop on Interstate 94.
The Sheriff’s Office released video from three separate deputies’ body cameras, with the longest video being over 35 minutes. In the clips, Smith and teammates Rashan Gary and Kingsley Keke are handcuffed and put into squad cars after Smith admits to smoking marijuana.
Just before he is handcuffed, Smith tells a deputy that “We had smoked earlier.”
After he is cuffed, he tells the deputy, “Sir, we play for the Packers, sir. We’re just coming back from Chicago. We smoked earlier. ... We smoked the last one before we left.”
Deputies searched the vehicle and appeared to find three blunts in a bag behind Smith’s seat, and a vape cartridge in a bag in the trunk.
When questioned, Smith says both bags are his.
“I put it on me,” he says.
Smith pleaded not guilty to the citations Monday, according to court records.
Attorney Brian Maloney filed the paperwork Monday with the Racine County Circuit Court, online court records show.
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Smith’s initial appearance, which was originally scheduled for Thursday, has been rescheduled to Dec. 12 at the Racine County Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave. He is not required to appear at those proceedings.
The traffic stop
Sheriff’s deputies stopped Smith Sept. 29 for reportedly driving 81 mph in a 60 mph zone on Interstate 94 near the ramp to Highway 20 just outside Mount Pleasant. Smith was reportedly returning to Green Bay with teammates Gary and Keke after a trip to Chicago, according to reports and court records.
Deputies reportedly found three hollowed-out cigars filled with marijuana and a vaping cartridge in a duffel bag in the rear of the SUV, reports said. All three players were briefly placed in handcuffs, but police released them after giving Smith the two citations, according to reports.
The citations appeared in Wisconsin’s online court records system as being filed Oct. 21 and Oct. 30. One is for speeding on a freeway, 20 to 24 mph over the limit, and the other is for possession of marijuana or synthetic marijuana.
“The Packers are aware of the matter involving Za’Darius Smith,” a Packers spokesperson said Friday. “We will refrain from making any further comment as it is a legal matter.”
Smith apologized to fans and his teammates during television interviews after Sunday’s Packers loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
According to reports, it’s unclear if Smith’s ticket would warrant a suspension under the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
In the past two years, Packers running back Aaron Jones (two games) and tackle Alex Light (one game) have been suspended for minor marijuana charges related to use and possession.
The Packers signed Smith as a free agent this spring and he leads the team with eight sacks this season. He played the first four seasons of his career with the Baltimore Ravens.