Celtics Guard Jabari Bird Charged With Strangling A Woman 12 Times
An argument over “trust issues” led Boston Celtics shooting guard Jabari Bird to strangle his girlfriend to the point of unconsciousness last Friday, prosecutors alleged at an arraignment hearing Thursday.
According to Boston police, the 24-year old professional basketball player was arrested Friday for alleged assault, strangling and kidnapping.
Bird’s accuser is a 20-year-old student at a prominent university in Boston. Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Khyati Short said the accuser told police she was at Bird’s home “when she was assaulted for a period of about four hours by the defendant.”
The incident started at about 1 p.m. EST Friday when she and the defendant got into an argument over Bird’s “trust issues,” court documents state.
“During the argument, the defendant began strangling her using one of his hands, and also threw her against a wall,” Short said. “After that, he began strangling her with two hands, approximately a dozen times.”
Short said Bird would throttle the accuser until “she went limp,” then start the torment all over again once she caught her breath. “She did lose consciousness at one point for a few seconds, and when she awoke found herself on the floor under the defendant’s bed. When she stuck her head out he began to kick her multiple times,” Short said.
She also said that Bird kicked her multiple times in the stomach and dragged her by her ankles away from the door when she tried to leave, before shutting her into a bathroom.
The woman told police that when she came out of the bathroom she saw Bird on the floor experiencing some type of mental disorder that she likened to ‘seizures.’ Court documents clarify that the accuser helped Bird into bed until he fell asleep.
Bird had been held at a local hospital for evaluation, which delayed the arraignment hearing to Thursday.
Bird was arrested over the weekend. At the arraignment, he was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery of a family or household member, kidnapping and strangulation.
Bird pleaded not guilty at the hearing and was held on $100,000 bail, which Brighton District Court Judge David Donnelly split into $50,000 cash and $50,000 surety. Bird was released this afternoon after a $50,000 cashier’s check was posted. His next court date is set for Oct. 25.
Bird’s sports agent Aaron Goodwin muttered to a group of news cameras that the bail was “ridiculous.”
Bird’s lawyer, former federal prosecutor Brian Kelly, said his client “understands the seriousness of the allegations” but that there are two sides to the story.
“I’m taking some time away from the team as I deal with my legal and medical issues,” Bird said via statement. “I apologize to my family, the Celtics organization, my teammates, the fans and the NBA for the unnecessary distraction that I have caused. The information that has been released does not tell the full story. I do not condone violence against women. I am hopeful that in due time and process, I will be able to regain everyone’s trust.”
The Celtics addressed Thursday’s hearing in a statement, saying the matter will be handled by the NBA rather than the team.
“Most importantly, our thoughts are with the victim of this incident. The Celtics organization deplores domestic violence of any kind, and we are deeply disturbed by the allegations against Jabari Bird,” the team said. “Pursuant to Domestic Violence Policy in the NBA’s labor agreement, matters of this kind are handled by the League Office, not the team, and so the Celtics will be working with both the league and local authorities to assist in their ongoing investigations. The team will have no further comment at this time.”
The Celtics drafted Bird with the 56th pick in the 2017 draft. The shooting guard spent his rookie season on a two-way contract before being signed to the active roster this summer.
If the Celtics were to waive Bird, they would have to pay his guaranteed $1.35 million salary for this season. By allowing the league to handle the matter, his contract could potentially be voided, depending on how the legal proceedings play out. Teams that spend over the threshold pay fines and for a Celtics team that’s currently dancing around the league’s luxury tax, those savings could be substantial, particularly if they were to sign a player to replace Bird on the roster.