MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A warrant was issued Friday for the arrest of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson after a grand jury in Texas indicted him for reckless or negligent injury to a child.
Peterson traveled to Texas and turned himself in early Saturday morning. He was booked into the Montgomery County Jail at about 1:15 a.m. CST, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
He posted a $15,000 bond and left jail about 30 minutes later.
Peterson will not play in Sunday’s game at TCF Bank Stadium against the New England Patriots. On Friday afternoon, the Vikings said Peterson had been deactivated. That’s different from a suspension, as Peterson will be still be paid as officials investigate.
Sports Radio 610 in Houston obtained a draft of the police report which says Peterson admitted that he did, in his words, “whoop” one of his children last May while the child was visiting him at his home near Houston.
The punishment happened after Peterson’s son pushed another of Peterson’s children off of a motorbike video game, the report says.
During a Skype session with his mom back in Minnesota, the 4-year-old boy asked if he could tell her something. According to the report, Peterson said, “Go ahead and tell her and show her what happened.”
The boy said he got a whooping with a switch — a wooden rod or tree branch used for punishment.
When the boy returned to his mother in Eden Prairie, Minn., she took him to a doctor.
The doctor told investigators that the boy had a number of lacerations on his thighs, along with bruise-like marks on his lower back and buttocks and cuts on his hand.
The police report says the doctor described some of the marks as open wounds and termed it “child abuse.” Another examiner agreed, calling the cuts “extensive.”
The report also states the four year-old had been hit with a belt, and that Peterson put leaves in the boy’s mouth while he was being hit with the switch with his pants down. The child told his mother Peterson likes belts and switches and has a whooping room, according to the report.
Photographs from the Houston police report showed pictures of the injuries. Another picture showed Peterson demonstrating the kind of switch he used.
The police report also includes text messages between Peterson and the boy’s mother. First he texted to her: “You will be mad at me about his leg.” Later, he texted: “He got about five more pops than normal. He didn’t drop one tear! … He’s tough as nails.”
In further text messages, Peterson allegedly said, “Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has the biggie heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right.”
When investigators questioned Peterson, they say he told them he regarded it as a normal spanking and not excessive. He told investigators, “To be honest with you, I feel very confident with my actions because I know my intent,” and when asked if he would reconsider using switches in the future, said he would never “eliminate whooping my kids … because I know how being spanked has helped me in my life.”
A grand jury seated earlier this summer decided not to charge Peterson.
Montgomery County Prosecutor Phil Grant said in a press conference Saturday afternoon that after seeing photos of the injuries, the grand jury thought Peterson went beyond “reasonable discipline.”
“Obviously parents are entitled to discipline their child as they see fit except for when that discipline exceeds what the community would say is reasonable,” he said.
Grant also said whoever leaked the photos and documents will face punishment.
“In the State of Texas, investigations of child abuse are confidential under the Texas Family Code,” Grant said. “It’s inappropriate, it shouldn’t have happened, and we’re going to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to find out who did it.”
Grant added that the case is in its preliminary stages, and it will likely be several months until its ready for trial — which might not be until next year.
On Friday, Peterson told WCCO-TV’s Mike Max that he didn’t think he’d face another indictment. The day’s developments caught him by surprise.
If Peterson is convicted, he could face up to two years in county jail. His next court appearance date has not been announced.
Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, issued this statement Friday afternoon:
“This indictment follows Adrian’s full cooperation with authorities who have been looking into this matter. Adrian is 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 growing up in east Texas. Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours. Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning. It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.”
The NFL recently unveiled a domestic-violence policy, which stipulates a six-game suspension for a first offense but allows for steeper penalties if children are involved.
The indictment against Peterson comes on the heels of another story involving an NFL running back and serious allegations.
On Monday, the league indefinitely suspended Ravens running back Ray Rice after video was published showing the player punching his soon-to-be wife and knocking her out cold.
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