Charges filed in

by Sarah Mitchell

Editor’s Note: The charges against Mike Cuperus were dropped, and he was not convicted of a crime. 

University student Don Johnson pressed charges on Wednesday against Gophers wrestler Mike Cuperus for third degree assault.
Johnson, 20, said the case has been turned over to the district attorney.
Minneapolis police arrested Cuperus, 20, early Sunday morning shortly after a scuffle took place in front of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity house at 1711 University Ave. A member of the house, Johnson suffered a broken nose and identified Cuperus as his assailant.
What really happened during the confrontation, which Johnson said was between members of the fraternity house and the group Cuperus was with, has been muddled by differing stories from each side.
“I went down to the front of the house because I noticed there was trash talking going on,” Johnson said. “I was like, ‘Just keep on moving. Just go. We don’t want anything to happen here.'”
With that, Cuperus became antagonizing, Johnson said. The 174-pound wrestler stepped onto the fraternity house’s lawn and ignored Johnson’s requests to leave.
“He pushed me. I pushed him,” Johnson said. “Finally he backed down. Then to my right I heard someone yell, ‘Look out (to a member of the house).'”
The call was too late. Johnson said he went over to help.
“I went to see what was going and all of sudden from my left side I get grabbed, thrown on the ground and punched three or four times,” Johnson said.
A bloodied Johnson was taken inside of the fraternity house by another member to get cleaned up, he said. When the police arrived Johnson identified Cuperus.
“I got a good look at him when he was tagging me,” Johnson said.
Cuperus denied the allegations on Tuesday. The sophomore said he and his friends were coming from 18-and-up night at Sparky’s Bar when they ran into an argument in front of Delta Kappa Epsilon.
The Gophers wrestler said he was just an innocent bystander when he was struck in the forehead by a full beer can.
University student Adam Leppert was with Cuperus Sunday morning.
“We noticed a scuffle in front of the house so we he hurried to see what was going on. There were like 20 guys on the front lawn,” Leppert said. “They were pushing and shoving.”
Leppert, 21, said he and Cuperus were on the receiving end of the shoving when they reached the house.
“This guy ran across the lawn with an unopened beer can in his hand. He threw it at Mike and it bounced off his forehead and landed like five feet away,” Leppert said. “Cuperus was down. He was seeing stars, I guess.”
Leppert said that he grabbed Cuperus’ attacker and in doing so was dragged to the ground by other members of the house. According to Leppert, a shout for all members to get inside of the house ended the scuffle.
“I didn’t see Mike throw a punch,” Leppert said.
Leppert said he had been drinking early that night, but did not know if Cuperus had.
Cuperus was released from police custody on Monday and is suspended from the team pending the outcome of the investigation.