Raheem Brock, the Temple University and NFL defensive standout, has been acquitted of skipping out on a $27 bill from a South Street bar 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 of the theft charge Thursday after a two-day trial at the Criminal Justice Center. He had been 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 Court Judge Barbara A. McDermott was the result of Brock's appeal of his theft conviction during his first trial, on Nov. 23.
Codefendant Arleen Aspajo, 26, also had been found guilty of theft in November and was found not guilty Thursday.
The Philadelphia native and Dobbins High School graduate's legal trouble began when he, Aspajo, and his cousin were asked to leave the South Street restaurant's outside seating area because Aspajo had brought in a cheesesteak from Ishkabibble's Eatery across the street, Brock said.
They canceled their order, which had not arrived, and headed to Ishkabibble's, Brock said. They would soon learn that the Copabanana manager had 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 that 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 a free agent.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound athlete said his arrest came at a bad time, given that his contract with the Seattle Seahawks was coming up for renewal. He said he believed that the incident played a part in the Seahawks' not offering him a deal after the 2011 season, and that it might be keeping other teams from signing him. Every team 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 cut him before the season began. He was then signed by the Indianapolis Colts, with whom he stayed until 2009. He helped the team win Super Bowl XLI in 2006. He was traded to Seattle in 2010.