This hurts real victims: Former NFL player accused of staging racist attack and burglary for insurance money
(EEW Magazine) Police said a former NFL player is facing criminal charges after allegedly vandalizing and destroying his own business to make it appear he was burglarized by a racist attacker—all in an attempt to collect insurance money.
Edawn Louis Coughman, 31, was arrested Thursday and charged with false report of a crime, insurance fraud and concealing a license plate, police said in a statement obtained by EEW Magazine Online.
For four seasons, Coughman enjoyed an NFL career playing for multiple teams including the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals.
Police said they investigated the scene after someone called and reported that an assailant was inside Create & Bake Pizza and Coughman's Creamery near Atlanta, doing damage to the business. According to the witness, the suspect was driving a black car without a license plate.
Police confronted the business owner, Coughman, after they saw him driving the vehicle that matched the description. At that time, they saw "several televisions in the bed of the truck and inside the cab,” with some of them still being “attached to the brackets with damaged drywall," police said.
Once police entered the business premises, they saw several racially-charged words and graffiti symbols—swastikas and MAGA— spray-painted in black on the walls, authorities said.
"Several booth cushions were sliced open. They also found broken mirrors, cut wires, and a damaged video surveillance system. The smell of spray paint was very fresh. When officers touched it, the paint appeared wet," police said.
Coughman, who was released on bond Thursday, has secured the services of an attorney, Jackie Patterson, and she said the former NFL player is anticipating his day in court.
"Coughman is presumed innocent like anyone else who is accused of a crime,” she said, urging the public not to “prejudge him without knowing all the facts.”
Coughman told police that when he saw the damage earlier in the day, he phoned his insurance company to report the damages but did not alert authorities, the statement said.
After his arrest, police also said they also discovered a yellow crow bar and cans of black spray paint in his vehicle.
"It appears as though Edawn conjured a premeditated plan to damage his own property, attempt to make it appear as a hate crime, file a claim with his insurance company, and sell off the undamaged appliances and electronics," police said.
EEW Magazine Online’s Holly Peterson-Daniels contributed to this report.