BOSTON (CBS) – Prosecutors said Thursday that Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird, who is facing domestic violence charges including kidnapping and strangulation, violently attacked his girlfriend over several hours.
Boston Police said Bird was involved in a September 7 incident at his girlfriend’s Brighton apartment.
Thursday afternoon, Bird said in a statement he is taking time away from the team to deal with his “legal and medical issues.”
Bird was arraigned on Thursday in Brighton Municipal Court. Former federal prosecutor Brian Kelly is representing Bird.
Prosecutors allege that Bird strangled his girlfriend, a college student, a dozen times to the point that she lost consciousness for a period of time. Police say she locked herself in the bathroom, and at one point in the alleged altercation she was hiding under a bed.
According to police report, Bird threw the woman against a wall and continued the attack for about four hours. Bird allegedly dragged the victim by the ankles away from a door when she tried to leave.
Kelly disputed the allegations, but did not present Bird’s version of what happened.
The prosecution asked for Bird to be held on $100,000 bail. The judge set bail at $50,000 cash, which he made just before 3 p.m.
Bird can have no contact with the victim and witnesses, must stay away from the college she attends, cannot use drugs or alcohol, and is prohibited from possessing a weapon. In addition, Bird was ordered to continue his medical treatment plan and cannot leave the state except for business.
Earlier in the day, Bird’s agent left court saying that asking his client to pay cash bail was “ridiculous.” The court only accepts cash, and Bird was held until the payment was made.
Bird was in custody at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital following the incident. Bird’s originally scheduled Monday arraignment was delayed as he remained hospitalized.
The woman told police Bird was having “seizure like” symptoms when she eventually escaped. She said Bird texted her that he would kill himself if she didn’t come back.
The Celtics released an updated statement following Bird’s arraignment.
“Most importantly, our thoughts are with the victim of this incident,” the team said. “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.”
In a statement, Suffok County District Attorney Dan Conley urged all domestic violence victims to reach out for help.
“Anyone living in fear of domestic violence can count on our office for a safe, supportive, victim-centered environment,” he said. “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.”
Bird is next due in court October 25.