Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird choked his girlfriend multiple times, kicked her and prevented her from leaving his apartment before he collapsed in distress, prosecutors said at his arraignment Thursday.
Bird, 24, was held on $50,000 bail after not-guilty pleas to domestic violence-related charges were entered on his behalf.
In a statement Thursday, Bird apologized to his teammates and fans for creating an “unnecessary distraction” and said he’s taking time away to deal with “legal and medical issues.”
“I do not condone violence against women,” he said. “I am hopeful that in due time and process, I will be able to regain everyone’s trust.” A management agency that represents Bird released the statement just hours after the arraignment hearing.
Police spoke with Bird’s girlfriend, a student at a local college, at a city hospital after his arrest last Friday , prosecutor Khyati Short said during the hearing.
Bird choked the woman unconscious, threw her against the wall and dragged her by the ankles when she tried to leave his apartment in the Brighton neighborhood, police said.
The ordeal, sparked by what the woman called “trust issues,” went on for several hours, she said, until Bird experienced “seizure-like” symptoms and fell. That’s when the woman left.
Bird spent several days in a hospital. The woman was released from the hospital without serious injury, according to a spokesman for prosecutors.
Bird’s lawyer, former federal prosecutor Brian Kelly, said that his client “understands the seriousness of the allegations” but that there are two sides to the story.
The Celtics called the allegations disturbing and said the team’s “thoughts are with the victim.”
“The Celtics organization deplores domestic violence of any kind, and we are deeply disturbed by the allegations against Jabari Bird,” the team said in a statement.
The team notes that domestic violence issues are handled by the NBA’s main office.
Bird, a second-round draft choice of the Celtics in 2017 out of California, signed a two-year contract with the team this summer after splitting his rookie season between Boston and the Maine Red Claws of the G-League. He appeared in 13 regular-season games for the Celtics last season.
The Milwaukee officer involved in the stun gun arrest of Bucks’ player Sterling Brown has been fired because of social media posts mocking the incident, the city’s police chief said Thursday. Police Chief Alfonso Morales said the firing decision was not tied to anything Erik Andrade did when Brown was arrested, but explained that the social media posts compromised the officer’s ability to testify in other cases. Brown sued the police department in June and accused officers of using excessive force and targeting him because he’s black. A group of officers swarmed on him at a Walgreens parking lot because he didn’t immediately remove his hands from his pockets. Brown was standing with the officers waiting for a citation for parking in a disabled spot early on Jan. 26, but never appeared to threaten police before or during his arrest. Andrade later mocked Brown on Facebook for his arrest.
4 p.m.: This report has been updated with news of Jabari Bird taking time off from the Celtics and a Milwaukee police officer being fired in aftermath of the stun gun arrest of Bucks’ player Sterling Brown.
This report was originally published at 12:30 p.m.