Raheem Brock, the Temple University and NFL defensive standout, has been found not guilty of skipping out on a $27 South Street bar bill last spring.
Brock, 33, who was charged with theft and resisting arrest shortly after leaving Copabanana with his cousin and a friend on June 16, was found not guilty Thursday of the theft charge following a two-day trial at the Criminal Justice Center. He was cleared of the resisting arrest charge at a previous trial.
"It feels great," Brock said Friday. "Everybody blew it up in the media and they made me look like a bad person. To have been found not guilty of these two charges really helped me out."
Thursday's trial before Common Pleas Judge Barbara A. McDermott was the result of Brock's appeal of his theft conviction during his first trial, on Nov. 23.
Brock's co-defendant Arleen Aspajo, 26, was also found guilty of theft in November and also found not guilty Thursday.
The Philly native and Dobbins High School graduate's legal trouble began when he, Aspajo and his cousin were asked to leave the popular South Street restaurant's outside seating area because Aspajo had brought in a cheesesteak from Ishkabibble's Eatery, which is across the street, Brock said.
They canceled their order, which had not arrived yet, and headed across the street to Ishkabibble, Brock said. They would soon learn that the Copabanana manager called the police and accused the threesome of leaving without paying.
Shortly after arriving at Ishkabibble's, he said, "the police burst in" and arrested all three. Brock said even though they did not eat the food that they ordered at Copabanana, he and Aspajo were charged, while his cousin was eventually let go.
"It was just a crazy situation," said Brock, who is now a free agent waiting for a team to give him a call.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive end said his arrest came at a very bad time, given that his contract with the Seattle Seahawks was coming up for renewal. He believes the incident played a part in the team not offering him a deal after the 2011 season ended, and may be keeping other teams from signing him. Every team that he has spoken to has asked about the incident, he said.
"It really did mess up my whole contract year. It affected my contract year dramatically, because teams didn't know if I was going to get suspended, or what," he said.
Brock said he turned down a plea deal from the District Attorney's Office that would have required him to do some form of community service because he wanted to clear his name.
"It would have made me look guilty. So, I had to go through this whole process to show that what [they accused me of], I didn't do."
The Eagles drafted Brock in 2002 but he never played due to the team running short on money. He was then signed by the Indianapolis Colts, where he stayed until 2009 and helped the team win Super Bowl XLI in 2007. He was traded to Seattle in 2010.