Celtics guard Jabari Bird was arraigned in Brighton Municipal Court Thursday morning and is being charged with assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, strangulation, and kidnapping, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
Bird pleaded not guilty to the charges and was held on $50,000 bail, which the judge ordered to be paid in cash despite objections from Bird’s attorney. Bird’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, posted bail for his client Thursday afternoon.
What authorities say happened
According to the police report, Bird was arrested Friday night in Brighton for a domestic incident in which he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend, a student at a local college, over a period of four hours in his residence. The victim told police Bird choked her, threw her against a wall, and kicked her multiple times in the stomach. The victim said she lost consciousness at one point and found herself on the floor under Bird’s bed when she awoke.
“She stated that he had strangled her approximately a dozen times, where he had a pattern of when she began to go ‘limp,’ he would stop and allow her to regain her breath, and then continuing to strangle her again,” the police report said.
Bird prevented the victim from leaving his home and, at one point, dragged her away from the door by the ankles, according to the report. The victim said Bird locked her in the bathroom and he was passed out when she finally emerged after an extended period of time. The victim told police Bird displayed “seizure-like” symptoms.
“She stated that she then picked him off the ground and managed to put him on the bed where he was asleep,” the police report said. “Victim stated that she then left the apartment, and took custody of Bird’s friend’s vehicle and drove back to her dorm.”
The victim was treated for injuries sustained at Boston Children’s Hospital. An officer observed cut marks on the victim’s neck and a bruise on her left ear, according to the report. The victim told the officer she also had multiple bumps on her head. The doctor who treated the victim confirmed the aforementioned injuries and also observed internal bleeding behind the victim’s ear.
“No one should have to live in an abusive relationship,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said in a press release. “Anyone living in fear of domestic violence can count on our office for a safe, supportive, victim-centered environment. As this case illustrates, a trusted figure in a survivor’s life can make disclosing abuse to law enforcement easier. It might be a friend, coach, family member, or co-worker. It might be police or prosecutors directly. But no matter the circumstances and no matter who you are, it’s important to remember that there are people ready to help you.”
What Bird is saying
According to the police report, Bird sent the victim a text message in which he threatened to kill himself if she didn’t come back to his residence. The victim sent the message to an individual identified as “Witness 3,” who called 911. Bird was then taken to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center for “an evaluation.”
Bird’s arraignment was delayed due to an extended hospitalization following his arrest. His next court date is scheduled for Oct. 25.
In a statement obtained by ESPN’s Marc J. Spears, Bird said, “The information that has been released does not tell the full story. I do not condone violence against women.”
Bird’s attorney, Brian Kelly, said his client would be supervised by his high school basketball coach, along with Mechalle Brown, the mother of his teammate Jaylen Brown, to fulfill his conditions of release.
What the Celtics are saying
The Celtics released the following statement after Bird’s arraignment: “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. 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.”
An NBA spokesman also issued a statement, via The Athletic‘s Shams Charania: “The allegations are disturbing and we are conducting a full investigation of the matter. We have been in contact with local authorities since learning of the incident.”
According to the joint NBA/NBPA policy on domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, “acts that constitute domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse are prohibited at all times and regardless of where they occur.” The league defines domestic violence as “any actual or attempted violent act that is committed by one party in an intimate or family relationship against another party in that relationship.
“Such an act may include physical assault or battery, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, or other forms of physical or psychological abuse. It may also include behavior that intimidates, manipulates, humiliates, isolates, frightens, terrorizes, coerces, threatens, injures, or places another person in fear of bodily harm.”
Bird said in his statement he will be “taking some time away from the team.”
“I apologize to my family, the Celtics organization, my teammates, the fans and the NBA for the unnecessary distraction that I have caused,” he said. “I am hopeful that in due time and process, I will be able to regain everyone’s trust.”
Boston selected Bird with the 58th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Signed to a one-year, two-way contract, he spent the majority of his rookie season with Boston’s G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. Bird then signed a two-year, standard NBA contract in July — making him an official member of the Celtics’ 15-man roster — after averaging 16.8 points on 57 percent shooting in summer league.