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Ex-NFL player deserves prison, probation officials tell judge

Lawrence Phillips, who has a history of arrests, deliberately drove his car into a crowd.

November 03, 2006|John Spano | Times Staff Writer

Former collegiate football star Lawrence Phillips should be sent to prison for driving his car into a group of boys and young men, probation officials advised a judge Thursday.

The onetime NFL running back "poses a danger to others" and has repeatedly behaved violently with no signs of reform, according to the report filed with Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli.

Last year, Phillips drove a car into a group of boys and young men after a pickup football game and struck three of them near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He accused them of stealing his wallet. He was convicted last month of assault.

His police record dates back more than a decade, with arrests and convictions involving allegations of violent behavior -- including several attacks on girlfriends -- and traffic violations. Mostly he was released on probation, with little or no incarceration, records show.

Phillips is awaiting trial on charges he struck his live-in girlfriend in San Diego last fall and strangled her into unconsciousness. He allegedly beat her so hard she collapsed in a bathtub; he then asked, "Do you want to die? I should just murder you," according to police reports.

A year earlier, he was arrested in a melee at a nightclub in Atlanta, and is wanted in Canada on assault warrants involving a 2004 altercation with another girlfriend in Quebec. In 2000, he was sentenced to probation for an incident in Beverly Hills in which he beat his then-girlfriend, choked her, bleached her clothes and cut up her credit cards.

He was involved in two cases of disorderly conduct in Nebraska in 1998 and 1997, and pleaded no contest to assault in a nightclub altercation in Lincoln, Neb., in 1995. As a juvenile, he was counseled and released after arrests on allegations of attempted robbery, theft and truancy.

The probation report in the Coliseum incident concluded he acted with premeditation and maliciousness, and argued that "society needs relief" from Phillips.

As a player at the University of Nebraska, Phillips was a standout who helped the Cornhuskers win two national championships in the 1990s.

But his inability to control his temper shortened Phillips' once-promising football career. Several NFL and Canadian teams cut him for infractions that included insubordination and clashing with coaches.

Phillips could face more than 13 years in prison in the Los Angeles assault case and an additional 15 years on the San Diego charges. His sentencing date has not been set.

john.spano@latimes.com

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