DA: Celtics Player Choked Girlfriend Into Unconsciousness

Prosecutors say Bird and the alleged victim had a romantic relationship

Prosecutors revealed new details about the arrest of Jabari Bird on Thursday, saying the Boston Celtics guard repeatedly choked his girlfriend during a fight, causing her to lose consciousness at some points.

Bird, 24, faces several charges, including strangulation, kidnapping, assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and kidnapping, according to police.

New information about what led to the charges came out during his arraignment Thursday in Brighton Municipal Court.

Prosecutors said police met with the victim at the hospital. She identified Bird as her boyfriend and said she got into a fight with him at his Brighton home Friday, at which point he started to choke her.

She told police Bird choked her multiple times over a four-hour period, causing her to lose consciousness. When she came to, she said Bird would begin choking her again. She said she was eventually able to flee in a friend's car.

According to the police report, Bird and his girlfriend were fighting about "Bird having trust issues with her." The report says Bird choked and kicked her for several hours at his home, preventing her from leaving.

Eventually, the police report says Bird put his girlfriend in the bathroom to stop her from leaving. When she came out, the report says she found Bird had passed out and was "displaying seizure like symptoms." She moved him to a bed and left.

After she left, the police report says Bird texted his girlfriend saying that if she didn't return to his home, he would kill himself.

Bird spent several days in a hospital. The woman was released from the hospital without serious injury, according to a spokesman for prosecutors.

Prosecutors asked for $100,000 bail Thursday, but Bird's attorney, Brian Kelly, protested, saying, "Only drug dealers have that kind of cash." The judge ultimately set bail at $50,000.

If Bird is released, he cannot have contact with the victim or go near her Boston-area college campus. He can only leave the state for work purposes. He is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 25.

Bird's agent, Aaron Goodwin, called the cash requirement "ridiculous" as he walked out of court Thursday. He refused to comment on any of the charges.

Kelly said Bird "understands the seriousness of the allegations" but there are two sides to every story.

Bird was originally scheduled to be arraigned on Monday but that was postponed because he was still hospitalized.

Bird issued a statement Thursday saying he's "taking some time away from the team as I deal with my legal and medical issues." He apologized to his family, the Celtics, his teammates, fans and the NBA "for the unnecessary distraction that I have caused."

He said he doesn't condone violence against women and hopes eventually to regain the public's trust.

The Celtics also issued a statement Thursday saying their 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 statement said.

Pursuant to the NBA's domestic violence policy, the Celtics said matters of this kind are handled by the league office. The team said it will have no further comment at this time.

Fans expressed their disappointment with the NBA guard's arrest earlier this week.

"You make it all the way to the NBA and just throw it all away with both hands. I just don't get it," Jim Barry said.

Others agreed.

"That's crazy," Celtics fan Veronica Harry said. "It's a bad message to be sending to your fans."

The Boston Celtics drafted Bird 56th in 2017 in the NBA draft. The two-year deal was reportedly for $3 million, USA Today reported at the time. Bird was reported to become a restricted free agent in 2020.

Bird, 24, is listed as 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs about 200 lbs., according to NBA stats. He played for the University of California, Berkeley's California Golden Bears before joining the Celtics.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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