On Thursday, police issued an arrest warrant for Los Angeles Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, according to a Mobile, Alabama, police spokesperson. The municipal records database for Mobile, where the warrant (first reported by USA Today) was issued, identifies the charge as third-degree harassing communications.
The warrant comes after Christy West, Cousins’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his 7-year-old son, said in a police report and court documents—which were filed in an effort to enact a restraining order against Cousins—that he has threatened and choked her.
Mobile police began investigating Cousins on Friday, after West told police that Cousins had threatened her over the phone. She provided police with a recording of the call, which TMZ released on Tuesday. In the recording, a man who West says is Cousins asks whether he can have his son “here,” meaning Cousins’s recent wedding to another woman, according to West. “I’m going to ask you this one more time before I take it to another level,” the man says. When the woman says no, the man tells the woman he would “make sure” to “put a bullet in your fucking head.”
Under Alabama law, the crime of harassment is treated as a Class C misdemeanor, but when it occurs in the context of domestic violence, it is a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000 for a first offense.
The former NBA All-Star is currently signed to the Lakers, and on Tuesday the organization said in a statement that it was aware of the allegations, adding: “We are in the process of gathering information and will reserve further comment at this time.” NBA spokesman Mike Bass also released a statement on Tuesday that said the league would do its own investigation into the situation.
The NBA can fine, suspend, dismiss, or ban players who violate the league’s domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policies, per its collective bargaining agreement. And though Cousins recently suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season, he could start serving any suspension that results from the league’s investigation while injured—should the Lakers choose to activate him. The Knicks did something similar in 2017 when they activated Joakim Noah, who’d had season-ending knee surgery in February of that year, so that he could serve a 20-game PED suspension while recovering.
After spending the first six years and a half years of his career in Sacramento, Cousins has been a member of three teams in the past three years, though he missed most of last season due to a torn Achilles. Cousins also suffered a torn left quad in the first round of last season’s playoffs and sat out until the NBA Finals.