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Report: Newly released text messages allege Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar’s involvement in robbery

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 8, 2020

Seattle Seahawks' Quinton Dunbar (22) waits his turn on the line as the team runs through drills before an NFL football scrimmage in Seattle on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020.   (Dean Rutz)
Seattle Seahawks' Quinton Dunbar (22) waits his turn on the line as the team runs through drills before an NFL football scrimmage in Seattle on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020.  (Dean Rutz)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar learned last month that prosecutors in Florida had dropped armed-robbery charges against him stemming from an incident in May. But on Tuesday, the New York Daily News published a story that said new evidence puts him “back in the middle” of the alleged crime.

The report cites text messages from witness Dominic Johnson on Aug. 28 obtained through a search warrant for the iCloud account associated with Johnson’s cellphone.

One of the text messages quotes Johnson saying: “Dre and Dunbar was directing it.”

Dre is a reference to former New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker, whom the team officially waived Tuesday morning as Baker faces four counts of robbery with a firearm relating to the May 13 incident in Miramar, Florida.

The Daily News story cites other text messages alleging Dunbar was “directing them to take people(‘s) stuff … He was telling them, to get that watch … as they were taking people(‘s) stuff,’’ according to one victim.

The story also states that, when asked by a detective, another victim said ‘both of those ballplayers’ were behind the alleged robbery.

Dunbar’s attorney, Andrew Rier, said in a phone interview with The Seattle Times on Tuesday that he has not been told that anything about Dunbar’s situation has changed.

He said police have had the texts for more than a week and that “nobody has reached out to me” to tell him that there could be any new charges against Dunbar.

Rier also noted that none of the evidence directly quotes Dunbar.

“I see no new information as it relates to Mr. Dunbar,” he said. “I don’t see that anything has changed based on what I read.”

The Daily News story further stated that “investigators concluded Dunbar ‘was not armed with any weapon’ on the night of the alleged robbery, according to Miramar police documents made public in Baker’s open case.

“But victims described the sixth-year corner as directly involved in the robbery.”

Dunbar and Baker were alleged to have been part of a group of men who stole roughly $73,000 in cash and jewelry at a party. Police initially portrayed the robbery as an attempt to get back money lost previously in gambling to the same men.

A separate Daily News story on Baker’s involvement states he lost the money the previous night and tried to steal it back on May 13.

The Daily News also quotes a victim as implicating Dunbar in an alleged scheme to pay off the witnesses to get them to change their story and say that he was not involved.

“I don’t even want to talk you, man,” the Daily News quotes a victim as saying he heard Dunbar say. “I had to pay $80,000 for this (expletive) and I didn’t do nothing.”

It’s unclear if the new evidence will impact either Dunbar’s legal status or availability with the Seahawks.

Dunbar was initially also facing four felony counts of armed robbery in the same case before the Broward State Attorney’s Office announced on Aug. 7 that “there is insufficient evidence to charge Quinton Dunbar in this case.’’

A day later, the NFL announced that Dunbar had been taken off the commissioner’s exempt list. He then reported to training camp with the Seahawks and began practicing with the team on Aug. 16.

After Dunbar was taken off the exempt list, NFL.com reported that the league could still investigate further if new information comes to light.

He was not at practice last Thursday. Coach Pete Carroll said Dunbar was attending a funeral.

He did not take part in practice Monday. Carroll said Dunbar was still going through the league’s COVID-19 testing protocol for re-entry and could not say definitively yet if Dunbar or Tre Flowers would start at right cornerback for the Seahawks against Atlanta in Sunday’s regular-season opener.

The Seahawks are not practicing Tuesday as the regular in-week players’ day off.

Dunbar talked to reporters who cover the Seahawks via Zoom on Aug. 21 and said that he couldn’t go into any details about the incident but that “the truth will eventually come out. … I’m good. My name is cleared. That’s all that matters.”

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