Ex-Vikings CB A.J. Jefferson charged with assault

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — A.J. Jefferson, who was

released by the Minneota Vikings on Monday after a morning arrest, was charged

Wednesday with one count of felony domestic assault by strangulation.

The Hennepin County attorney’s office charged Jefferson, 25,

after he was arrested at his Eden Prairie residence on Monday for probable

cause domestic assault against his girlfriend of three years, according to a

statement released by the county on Wednesday.

“We are saddened at the continuing inability of men to

get this simple message: Don’t hit, strangle, slap or in any other way assault

your wife or girlfriend,” Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman said in

the statement. “It is wrong morally and criminally, and we will prosecute

you, as we do hundreds of men every year.”

According to the criminal complaint, Jefferson — listed on

court records by his given name, Anthony Ray Jefferson — had grabbed his

girlfriend, reported to be a 23-year-old woman, around the throat after she had

not responded to text messages. The statement released Wednesday said that

Jefferson and his girlfriend had an argument in their home Sunday evening.

Jefferson had played one defensive snap in Minnesota’s 26-26 tie at Green Bay

on Sunday before leaving with a neck injury.

The statement said Jefferson left the residence and his

girlfriend had went to bed, and she awoke to Jefferson “yelling at her for

ignoring his text messages to her and he grabbed her around her throat,”

according to the complaint.

Jefferson was jailed at 6:57 a.m. on Monday and is still in

custody on $40,000 bail.

Jefferson, acquired by the Vikings in a 2012 preseason

trade, was released Monday.

“I can’t really comment on his release or what happens

from this point on regarding him,” Frazier said Monday.

Jefferson is the second of three Vikings’ player to be

arrested since Nov. 9 when receiver Jerome Simpson was arrested and later

charged with third-degree DWI for refusal to submit to a chemical test, a gross

misdemeanor, and fourth-degree DWI for operating a motor vehicle under the

influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor. Starting middle linebacker Erin Henderson

was arrested on Nov. 19 for probable cause DWI and possession of a controlled

substance, according to an Eden Prairie Police statement.

“The fact that we have had three recent off field

situations is unacceptable and disappointing,” general manager Rick

Spielman said in a statement released by the team. “Our organization looks

at each situation and the circumstances involved to determine our actions with

those players and how to best move forward.

“The Vikings have a comprehensive approach with our

player development program and excellent resources that are a part of this

organization, but certainly we will take a methodical look at how we can

improve upon our current programs to prevent these situations in the

future.”

Minnesota’s Chris Cook was arrested Oct. 22, 2011 and later charged with felony

charges of domestic abuse/strangulation. He was suspended by the team, but

reinstated less than two weeks later. He missed the season’s final 10 games

though after the team told him to stay away from the team facilities while

going through the legal process. He was later acquitted.

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