Ex-MSU guard Appling arraigned on weapons charges
Dearborn – — Keith Appling, a former Michigan State guard, was arraigned Wednesday on a felony and two misdemeanors in connection with an incident Sunday at a Dearborn club.
Appling’s attorneys say they believe he was racially profiled by Dearborn Police looking for other suspects. Appling’s co-counsel, Cyril Hall said the athlete “feels bad about it and he’s very saddened” about the charges.
“Here’s a young man who has no criminal record whatsoever,” Hall said after the arraignment before 19th District Court Judge William C. Hultgren. “There’s no reason for him to have been stopped. That’s the problem.”
Appling, who played in the NBA and NBA Development League this season, appeared in court with his mother and attorneys as the charges were read in the brief court hearing. A probable cause conference will be held Friday.
Hall said Appling was singled out because police because “he fit a description” of another African-American male or males police were searching for.
At about 6:47 p.m. Sunday, Dearborn police responded to a call from The Pantheion Club on the 12900 block of Michigan. Security officers allegedly observed a man pulling a gun out of the trunk of a car in the parking lot. Police arrived and allegedly saw Appling, 24, in the driver’s seat of the car security had described.
After a search, police say they found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a small amount of what they believe to be marijuana, and a loaded weapon in the trunk.
Appling, who cooperated with police, was placed under arrest at the scene.
Hall called the marijuana charges false, saying Appling doesn’t use the drug. Hall said he has advised Appling to be tested for marijuana.
Appling’s preliminary hearing, tentatively scheduled for May 20 is expected to be waived by his attorneys while they request possible evidence, such as the video showing the arrest near the Dearborn club.
Hall and Appling’s other attorney, Amir Makled, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Hultgren requested a $5,000 personal bond for Appling, which was granted.
Appling faces charges of carrying a concealed weapon, a felony, along with possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle and possession of marijuana, both misdemeanors.
He is licensed to carry a weapon, Makled said. He said both weapons in the car were pistols.
“It’s clear the police were looking for someone else other than him,” Hall said. “He was minding his own business and engaged in lawful activity and the next thing here comes 12 police cars (approaching Appling). He hadn’t been in any altercation.”
Police were looking for a black Dodge Charger, Hall said, when they approached Appling, who was in a blue Dodge Challenger outside the club where he had dinner around 7 p.m.
“It’s clear it wasn’t him,” Makled said. “The detention was illegal ... without justice.”
Dearborn Police officials did not respond to allegations about Appling being profiled.
But the department’s chief, Ronald Haddad, stated in a news release: “We are grateful that a citizen took the initiative to contact the police immediately which allowed us to quickly respond and investigate the matter. Due to the concerned citizen’s willingness to get involved we were able to remove guns and illegal drugs from the streets of Dearborn.”
Hall complained if he hadn’t received a writ from Wayne Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny, Appling still would have been locked up awaiting an arraignment in the matter.
Hall said the charges “potentially” could impact Appling’s pro career.
Appling, who spent most of last season with the Erie BayHawks, played in five games for the Magic.
He played at Michigan State from 2010-14. He is tied for third in school history for starts with 123. During his final season, he played in 35 games, starting 32, averaging 11.2 points, 4.5 assists and three rebounds.
Appling is a graduate of Detroit’s Pershing High.