MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — Minnesota sophomore guard Daquein McNeil was jailed Tuesday without bail after his arrest on a felony domestic assault charge involving his girlfriend.
McNeil, who was suspended from all team activities pending the investigation, was booked Monday, according to jail records. The Hennepin County attorney’s office had until Wednesday to charge him, spokesman Chuck Laszewski said.
McNeil was arrested for second-degree domestic assault and domestic assault by strangulation.
According to the Minneapolis police report, the 20-year-old McNeil and his girlfriend, who is 28, got into an argument Monday morning at an apartment near campus. McNeil tore off her clothes, hit her multiple times with a large belt, choked her and poured cold water on her, the police report said.
She fled outside wearing a small robe and coat to another apartment around the corner, where a man called in the emergency and she waited until police and medics arrived. Officers observed the victim distraught, with several bruises and welts over her body, the report said. She was taken to a hospital.
Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague said the school was gathering information and cooperating with authorities.
“This athletics department values respect and positively impacting the lives of others and will not tolerate any form of domestic assault from its staff or student-athletes,” Teague said in a statement released by the university.
The team was unavailable for comment. The Gophers play St. John’s on Wednesday in New York in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
WCCO’s Angela Davis spoke with the woman who identified herself as the victim.
She said they had been dating for a year, but nothing like this had ever happened.
The woman also said she is not interested in pursuing charges against McNeil, but understands the matter is out of her hands.
Meanwhile, on campus, U of M students and staff shared their disappointment.
“I think it is terrible. It is happening all over the country and it needs to stop,” U of M employee Elliott James said.
“We get crime alerts around here about things happening to women, so to hear about something else like that happening this is sadly not that surprising. But also, heartbreaking again,” U of M student Jessica Neal said.
Another student who watches Gopher basketball games regularly told us “It’s really kind of sad, but I hope everything goes okay. I don’t think he should return at all. Not yet, it’s really a shame. A really talented guy,” he said.
McNeil was averaging 3.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 18.8 minutes per game. He was usually the second guard off the bench, behind starters Andre Hollins and DeAndre Mathieu and backup Nate Mason. McNeil played sparingly as a freshman, averaging 1.6 points and 9.8 minutes per game, but coach Richard Pitino mentioned him last month as the team’s most improved player over the summer.
McNeil was the first player to sign with Minnesota after Pitino was hired last year, after originally committing to play at Florida International where Pitino previously coached. He was a three-year starter at Vermont Academy, a prep school in the small town of Saxtons River, after leaving behind a rough upbringing on the east side of Baltimore where he lived with his aunt. In 2007, when McNeil was 13, his father was murdered and his mother died after a long bout with lupus.
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