PHOENIX (Reuters) - Detectives in Phoenix arrested Jonathan Dwyer, a running back with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, on charges of aggravated assault in connection with two alleged incidents of domestic violence in late July, a police spokesman said on Wednesday.
The Phoenix Police Department gave few details but said the incidents involved a 27-year-old woman and an 18-month-old child. In an email, Sergeant Trent Crump said Dwyer “admitted to the incidents, however, denied any physical assaults.”
Crump said the 25-year-old player was booked into Maricopa County Jail on one count of aggravated assault causing a fracture, one count of aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency, and assault.
The Cardinals said they became aware of the allegations on Wednesday afternoon when they were notified by Phoenix police, and they said they are cooperating fully.
“Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities,” the Cardinals said in a statement.
Crump said the two incidents were reported to police by neighbors who said they heard fights, and that soon afterward the woman fled the state with her and Dwyer’s child, citing safety concerns for herself.
He said the victim reported her injuries to police on Sept. 11, and said she also received text messages from the player in which he threatened to kill himself.
“They were threatening text messages, and most of them were an indication that he was going to harm himself,” Crump said.
“The suspect’s threat of committing suicide ... occurred in an attempt to keep her from calling the police.”
An NFL spokesman said the case will be reviewed under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Dwyer, a 5-foot-11-inch (1.80 meter), 229-pound (103-kg)running back, is in his first year with the Cardinals after playing parts of four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to the Arizona team’s website. He signed a one-year contract in March as an unrestricted free agent.
He has rushed for 51 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown, and has two receptions for eight yards in his first two games with the team. Dwyer, who went to Georgia Tech, was picked in the sixth round of the 2010 draft by the Steelers.
He lists his hometown as Marietta, Georgia.
Reporting by David Schwartz; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Sandra Maler and Ken Wills