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Why CUPD arrested Clemson football DT DeMonte Capehart

Ashleigh Snyder
Clemson defensive tackle Demonte Capehart had his best season on the field in 2023, finishing with 15 total tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble.

Correction: An earlier version of this story did not include the $10,000 bond that Capehart posted for the weapons charge. The Tiger regrets this error and has since corrected it.  

More light has been shed on why Clemson football defensive tackle DeMonte Capehart was arrested during a traffic stop 10 days ago for “carrying or displaying firearms (on) school property.”

According to the Clemson University Police Department incident reports obtained by The Tiger, officers pulled over Capehart and saw a loaded magazine in the glove compartment, which led to a vehicle search and the discovery of a 9-millimeter rifle in the trunk, which Capehart claimed belonged to his “homeboy.”

The documents state that, on Feb. 6, at around 8:17 p.m., two CUPD officers were sitting in a police car near Williamson Road and Heisman Street when they observed a blue Dodge Charger spin its tires and accelerate quickly up Highway 93, also known as Old Greenville Highway. At that point, the officers turned on their blue lights and sirens and pulled over the car at Clemson’s Tennis Facility at 188 Old Greenville Highway, the documents state.

After being pulled over, Capehart identified himself to one of the officers. The second officer, who was on the other side of the vehicle, observed a loaded firearm magazine in “plain view” in the glove box when Capehart was searching for his vehicle information. Seeing the loaded magazine caused the officer to tell the other officer to ask Capehart to step out of the vehicle, to which Capehart complied.

When Capehart was asked about the magazine, “it was determined he had a firearm,” according to police documents. Capehart then told the officers that the firearm was located in the trunk of the car and it “belonged to his ‘homeboy.'” One of the officers then frisked Capehart because he thought it “would be easy for him to conceal a firearm on his person” due to Capehart’s size. Capehart is 6-foot-5 and weighs 320 pounds.

One of the officers then searched the vehicle after Capehart said they could “look wherever.” The officer found a “Highpoint 9mm rifle,” according to the incident report. Officers then ran the serial number of the rifle through dispatch, and the rifle came back clear.

At this point, an officer informed Capehart of his Miranda Rights, which Capehart understood and waved. Because Capehart  “was unsure what else his ‘Homeboy’ may have left inside,​” he consented to a search of the vehicle. Before the search, Capehart was placed in handcuffs and put inside the police patrol car. During the search of the vehicle, the police “located several empty liquor/beer containers and,​ in the back seat,​ a yellow plastic baggy containing four live 9mm rounds,” according to the incident report. According to the police documents, the vehicle Capehart was driving is not owned by him.

After calling his supervisor, one of the officers on-site continued to speak with Capehart, who told the officer he was driving from Fike Recreation Center, located on Clemson University property,​ where he had been watching a basketball game inside, and his vehicle had been parked there.

Capehart was then placed under arrest and transported to the Clemson City Police Department’s jail,​ where he was booked,​ and a hold was placed on him for possession of a firearm on school property. He was also given a traffic citation, the report said.

Following his arrest, Capehart posted a $10,000 bond for the weapons charge and a $232.50 bond for the traffic charge and was released, according to Pickens County court filings.

On Feb. 7, the day after Capehart’s arrest, a CUPD officer found video evidence of Capehart’s vehicle being parked at Fike Recreation Center, as well as video of Capehart entering the building.

On Thursday, Clemson Athletics provided The Tiger with the following statement on Capehart’s arrest:

“We have been aware of the facts of the case from the start, and he is not presently participating in team activities while awaiting completion of all legal and university processes.”

Entering his fifth season with Clemson, Capehart had his best season as a Tiger in 2023, finishing with 15 total tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble.

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Justin Robertson
Justin Robertson, Associate Editor
Ashleigh Snyder
Ashleigh Snyder, Photo Editor
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