University of Kansas

KU star running back Pooka Williams charged with domestic battery, suspended from team

Pooka Williams rushed for 252 yards against Oklahoma on Saturday night.
Pooka Williams rushed for 252 yards against Oklahoma on Saturday night. AP

Kansas star running back Pooka Williams was suspended from the Jayhawks football team Friday and pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery, one day following his arrest by KU police.

“We are aware of a reported incident involving Pooka Williams and we are taking these allegations very seriously,” KU coach Les Miles said. “We have suspended Pooka from all team-related activities pending further investigation.”

According to a release from the KU office of public safety, an 18-year-old female student reported Thursday that she was in a “physical altercation” with a 19-year-old male early Wednesday morning at Stouffer Place Apartments. Chris J. Keary, KU’s director of public safety and chief of police, said he could not provide more details on the extent of that altercation.

In the offense report, the woman is listed as an acquaintance of Williams. She sustained minor injuries as a result of bodily force, according to the report.

The woman did not require medical attention, according to police. Williams was interviewed and arrested Thursday afternoon at the KU public safety office and booked into the Douglas County jail.

He made an initial appearance in Douglas County District Court on Friday afternoon via video teleconference, with his attorney, Hatem Chahine, pleading not guilty on his behalf to the misdemeanor charge. Judge James T. George set bond for Williams at $1,000 while also ordering Williams to not have any contact with the alleged victim. George also ordered that Williams not return to the alleged victim’s residence.

The next court date for Williams is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 9. Chahine had no comment after Friday’s first appearance, saying he had just been assigned to the case.

Williams, who was the Big 12’s offensive freshman of the year and also a first-team all-Big 12 coaches selection at both running back and kick returner, rushed for 1,125 yards last season.

Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — has covered KU sports since 2008. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year.