NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette was arrested on Monday on a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery involving a woman at his home in a New Orleans suburb, police said.
The 22-year-old woman, who identified herself as Galette’s live-in assistant, suffered a bloody ear and scratches to her face after a physical altercation with Galette, 26, and his cousin, Kenner police spokesman Lieutenant Brian McGregor said.
The incident is the latest in a string of high-profile domestic abuse cases involving NFL players recently, including Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, amid public pressure, in August strengthened the league’s penalties against such crimes.
In Galette’s case, the woman told police that the incident occurred after Galette and Terrance Banks, 27, refused to give her cab fare to leave the player’s house after she awoke there on Monday morning, McGregor said.
Banks was also arrested and charged with simple battery.
The woman said that both men pushed her to the ground and left her struggling to breathe before she wielded a knife in self-defense and Galette began recording her with his phone, McGregor said.
Police have seized Galette’s phone and are seeking a search warrant to review the recording, McGregor said.
The woman said she had lived with Galette and cooked and cleaned for him for two years but was not in a romantic relationship with him, police said.
Galette has given varying accounts of their relationship, first identifying her as a dancer and then as the girlfriend of a cousin, McGregor said.
Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said in an email that the team was aware of the arrest and “still collecting information.”
“We are looking into it,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Reuters concerning the incident.
Galette was expected to be released on bond later on Monday, McGregor said. It was not immediately clear if he had retained a lawyer.
A five-year veteran of the National Football League, Galette was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Saints in 2010 and has played his entire pro career in New Orleans.
Born in Haiti, Galette became a starter at outside linebacker for the Saints in 2013 and was named one of the team’s captains for the just-completed season.
Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Additional reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Bill Trott and Eric Beech