Police chief clarifies that Zach Smith was never arrested in 2015
When Brett McMurphy first reported about the 2015 domestic incident involving Zach Smith and Courtney Smith, the post read that Zach Smith has been arrested. McMurphy later edited arrested to investigated (without a formal correction). The edits led to some more reporting by Eleven Warriors and now Powell’s police chief has explained why Zach Smith was never arrested in 2015.
EW contacted Powell Chief of Police Gary Vest to get clarification on the reports. While critics of McMurphy’s reporting will look to discredit, it appears the mention of “arrest” is the result of a clerical error.
“He was never arrested, never handcuffed, never brought in and never charged in a court of law here in 2015,” Vest told the website. “There were never any charges filed in the court process. So the word ‘arrest’ was simply checked on a box that shouldn’t have been checked.”
McMurphy’s original report, a Facebook post (due to the terms of his firing from ESPN), included the word arrest. When Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was asked about the report, he replied with the widely replayed soundbite, “I got a text last night that something happened in 2015, and there was nothing. I don’t know who creates a story like that.”
Whether the change in the “arrest” detail of the report has an impact on Meyer’s status remains to be seen. Meyer put out a statement last week admitting that he was not “adequately prepared” at Big Ten Media Days to address the domestic violence allegations against Zach Smith.
It was Meyer questioning the report that led to McMurphy following up with an Aug. 1 report which included photos and text messages from Courtney Smith showing she had contacted Shelley Meyer about abuse by Zach Smith. Urban Meyer was placed on administrative leave following the report.
Ohio State’s independent investigation is unlikely to focus on what Meyer said to reporters, but rather, what the Buckeyes coach told school officials.