New York Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman will not face charges stemming from an October domestic dispute between Chapman and his girlfriend, during which the pitcher allegedly fired shots in his Florida home.
Broward County Assistant State Attorney Stefanie Newman wrote in a close-out memo Wednesday that conflicting accounts and insufficient evidence made a conviction unlikely. Davie, Florida, police had previously closed the Oct. 30 matter for similar reasons.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel first reported the prosecutors’ decision.
“We are all pleased that the Davie Police Department and the Office of the State Attorney took the time to fully investigate the matter and have concluded that charges were not warranted,” Chapman’s lawyer Paul Molle told the newspaper.
According to a police report, Chapman’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Cristina Barnea, told police he pushed her, put his hands around her neck and choked her during an argument.
Chapman said there was an argument but that he was pushed down by Barnea’s brother. Chapman said he eventually got a handgun and fired eight shots into a wall and window while locked in his garage.
On Wednesday, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said Chapman is “innocent until proven otherwise.”
Major League Baseball is investigating and could discipline Chapman under its new domestic violence policy. The league is unsure when its investigation will be complete, but commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday that he would like to have it resolved before the season begins.
“The one thing I’ve learned about these cases is timing is not mine, right?” Manfred said. “You have to really rely on the criminal process playing out in order to put yourself in a position that you’re comfortable to actually know what the facts are.”
Players may be disciplined for “just cause,” the same standard used under the sport’s collective bargaining agreement. Discipline can be appealed to baseball’s independent arbitrator.
“When you have a new policy, the first ones take on a special significance in terms of tone and precedent and all those things,” Manfred said. “So I’m going to make sure that I know everything I could possibly know about each of these cases before I make any decisions.”
The Yankees sent right-handers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda to Cincinnati in the trade. Chapman will close for a Yankees bullpen that also includes Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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