Zay Jackson, sophomore guard on the Murray State men’s basketball team, was suspended from all team activities Monday after he was arrested late Sunday afternoon on two counts of second-degree assault.
Murray Police responded to an altercation in the parking lot of the Murray Walmart around 4 p.m. Sunday where Jackson allegedly hit two people with his vehicle. Both victims reported minor injuries.
The alleged victims were identified as Jason and Alia Clement, a married couple from Paducah, Ky.
In sworn affidavits from both of the Clements, they claimed to have seen Jackson exit Walmart and cause a shopping cart to collide with a parked car. Jason Clement says he made a remark about the incident to Jackson, who allegedly responded to his remark and then got into his white 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. At the time, Jackson was with an unidentified female.
Jason and Alia Clement claim they continued loading groceries into their car when Jackson pulled up alongside them and began conversing with them. Alia told Jason to get a picture of Jackson’s license plate. As Jason stood behind the car taking a picture with his cell phone, Jackson backed into Clement, striking him multiple times. Jason Clement then said Jackson pulled forward and struck his wife, Alia, with his car as well. Jason moved to the front of the car and Jackson quickly accelerated, striking Jason once more and throwing him onto the hood of the car. Jackson continued to drive with Jason on the hood of the car. The Clements said Jason was tossed off the hood as the car approached the tire and oil change area of the Walmart parking lot near Lowes Drive.
Jackson has yet to make a statement on the incident in defense to the Clements’ claims made by the alleged victims.
Officers responded to the incident and arrested Jackson at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Jackson remained in the Calloway County Jail Sunday night and appeared in Court at 9:30 Monday morning.
Jackson was initially charged with three counts of first-degree assault, but one of the charges was dropped and the other two were reduced to second-degree assault charges at Monday morning’s arraignment hearing.
His initial bond of $20,000 was also lowered to $15,000 at the hearing. Jackson’s preliminary court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26.
Jackson remained in the Calloway County Jail until early Monday afternoon when teammate, Latreze Mushatt posted $1,500 bail, 10 percent of the bond. Jackson was released from jail Monday afternoon.
Head Coach Steve Prohm and the athletic department released statements on the arrest late Monday evening.
Prohm officially announced that Jackson would not be permitted to take part in team activities until further notice.
“I was disappointed and surprised to learn of the incident on Sunday involving Zay,” Prohm said. “I will continue to work with the authorities to gather and evaluate the facts as quickly as I can to get a clearer picture of what actually happened.
“Until that time, Zay has been suspended from all team activities. There is a standard of conduct I expect from all my players, and from what I know at this point, that standard was compromised.
“I will support Zay in his efforts to make this right, but I anticipate this matter will take time to fully resolve.”
Director of Athletics Allen Ward said he supports the action Prohm has taken and apologized for embarrassment the incident may have caused the University.
“The department takes matters such as this very seriously,” Ward said. “I fully support the manner in which Coach Prohm has handled the incident and the action he has taken on Zay’s involvement with the team. We will continue to monitor the matter closely and make decisions accordingly as additional facts are presented. I deeply regret any embarrassment this has caused the University.”
As a freshman, Jackson played a key role in the Racers historic 2011-12 basketball season.
Jackson saw action in all 33 of the Racers’ games last season and averaged 4.9 points and 18 minutes per game. Jackson was expected to be a starter on this season’s team.
There is no word on Jackson’s status for the opening game Nov. 9 against Brescia.
Story by Jonathan Ferris, Sports Editor