A warrant was issued in Texas for the arrest of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, following a grand jury indictment on a felony charge of injury to a child.
Peterson, a six-time Pro Bowler, is alleged to have beaten his 4-year-old son with a thin, whip-like tree branch, or “switch,” causing numerous injuries. Minnesota has deactivated him for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.
According to reports, authorities in Minnesota began investigating the case in May, after the boy had returned home to his mother for a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment. Peterson had told the boy’s mother that he had given the child a “whooping,” and the doctor judged that his injuries were consistent with child abuse.
Peterson was taken into custody at 1 a.m. Saturday in Montgomery County, Texas, where he was booked and then released on $15,000 bond, according to NFL.com.
The case comes during a tumultuous stretch for the NFL, with the league’s handling of the Ray Rice case receiving the most criticism this week, prompting calls for Commissioner Roger Goodell’s resignation. In addition, the league is facing scrutiny for how it deals with the domestic violence cases of Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald.
Hardy was convicted on charges of misdemeanor assault in July. San Jose police are still investigating the August case involving McDonald. Peterson’s case was turned over to authorities in Montgomery County, Tex., where the incident was determined to have taken place. Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement that his client “has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours.”
Hardin’s statement also describes Peterson as “a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas. . . .
“It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.”
A report by CBS Houston offered details of the beating Peterson gave his son. The report, which cited law enforcement sources, said it “allegedly resulted in numerous injuries to the child, including cuts and bruises to the child’s back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands.”
The CBS Houston report also cited police as saying the boy told authorities “that ‘Daddy Peterson hit me on my face.’ The child also expressed worry that Peterson would punch him in the face if the child reported the incident to authorities.”
Photos obtained by media outlets from the Houston police department, which also investigated the incident, show a boy’s limbs with numerous welts on them.