Former NFL star, Vicksburg native Malcolm Butler arrested for DUI in Rhode Island

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Former NFL star and Vicksburg native Malcolm Butler was arrested Saturday in Rhode Island for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Several media outlets in Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, citing a police report, reported that Butler was charged with driving under the influence of liquor; refusal to submit to a chemical test; and parking or stopping in an intersection following a traffic stop in North Providence.

The DUI charge is a misdemeanor. Refusing to submit to a chemical test and parking or stopping in an intersection are traffic violations.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

On Thursday, Butler was arraigned during the morning session at Kent County District Court in Warwick, Rhode Island, and entered a not guilty plea. Butler’s bail was set at $1,000 personal recognizance. He waived the right to a jury trial and is scheduled to return to court on April 18, but also has to appear in traffic court on Friday. The judge allowed Butler to drive as long as the case moves forward, and he is allowed to leave the state.

North Providence Police Chief Alfredo Ruggiero Jr., said Tuesday that Butler’s white Mercedes-Benz was stopped and blocking a lane of traffic on Mineral Spring Avenue near the ramp to Route 146 at 3:22 a.m.

Police investigated and, during the encounter, an officer detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Butler’s breath. Police also said Butler’s speech was slurred, and his eyes were watery and severely bloodshot.

“While speaking with Malcolm, I could detect a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his breath,” the officer wrote in a police report of the incident. “He also had extremely slurred and delayed speech along with severely bloodshot watery eyes.”

According to police, Butler produced a Mississippi driver’s license and declined to submit to a field sobriety test requested by the officer. He was then arrested and charged.

Under Rhode Island law, refusing to take a sobriety test can result in having your driver’s license suspended for a minimum of six months in addition to other penalties.

Butler told the officer he had been at a recording studio in Providence where he was making music.
The Mercedes-Benz, which had a Rhode Island license plate, is registered to Butler, Ruggiero said.

Television station WPRI in Providence reported that Butler’s attorney, John Harwood, has filed a motion to dismiss or suppress the charge, arguing Butler said his constitutional rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments “were violated.”

“I think when they stopped him he wasn’t driving,” Harwood told the TV station. “He was off the road, and that he wasn’t driving tells me at least he was being responsible.”

The 34-year-old Butler is a Vicksburg High School graduate who rocketed to NFL fame in his rookie season with the New England Patriots in 2014. After signing as an undrafted free agent and making the roster in training camp, Butler made a game-clinching interception in the final minute of Super Bowl XLIX. The play gave the Patriots a 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks and turned Butler into a household name.

He went on to play seven seasons in the NFL — four with New England and three more with the Tennessee Titans. Butler won two Super Bowls with the Patriots and helped them reach a third.

He was released by the Titans in 2021 and signed with the Arizona Cardinals, but left the team for personal reasons at the end of training camp.

He returned to the Patriots in 2022 and played in two preseason games before he was placed on injured reserve because of a hip injury. He did not play in 2023 and recently said he was retired from the NFL.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest