SEATTLE (AP) — Prosecutors in Washington state have charged former Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers star Richard Sherman after police said he drunkenly crashed his SUV in a construction zone and tried to break into his in-laws’ home.
Sherman, who was released from jail Thursday, was expected to appear in court Friday for arraignment on five criminal charges: driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless endangerment of road workers, criminal trespassing, resisting arrest and malicious mischief. They are all misdemeanors, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, or gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year.
Sherman’s attorney, Cooper Offenbecher, did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Sherman was belligerent, had been drinking heavily and spoke of killing himself when he left his home in the Seattle suburb of Maple Valley late Tuesday, according to police reports. His wife, Ashley Sherman, called 911 to try to have police stop him.
He was arrested early Wednesday after police said he crashed his car in a construction zone along a busy highway east of Seattle and then tried to break into his in-laws’ home in the suburb of Redmond. Workers said the driver entered the closed construction zone at 60 to 70 mph (97 to 113 kph) and sped off after being confronted, shooting sparks from a wheel, then abandoned the disabled vehicle nearby.
Sherman‘s father-in-law, Raymond Moss, told officers that he armed himself with a handgun and fired pepper spray at the NFL cornerback to protect his family as Sherman tried to bust in the door of Moss’ home with his shoulder.
Another of Moss’ daughters pleaded with a 911 operator for officers to arrive quickly and told her children to hide in a bathroom behind a shower curtain, according to audio of the call released Thursday.
“The family began to yell in fear,” Raymond Moss told police. “I used pepper spray on Sherman’s face through the partially opened door as he was still banging and attempting to gain entry. I told him to stop. I armed myself with my handgun at this time fearing for the safety of myself and my family.”
Officers were cautious about arresting Sherman because of his size, strength and belligerence, according to police reports. After trying to deescalate the situation, they decided to use less-lethal force after warning Sherman that they would if he didn’t comply with their orders.
They could not use a Taser because they worried about igniting whatever chemical Sherman’s father-in-law had sprayed him with and could not fire a beanbag round because they were too close to him. Instead, they released a police dog, which bit his ankle and caused a minor cut, as other officers wrestled with him on the ground, the reports say.
In February, King County prosecutors and the sheriff obtained an “extreme risk protection order” for Sherman, which barred him from having guns after a judge determined he posed a danger to himself or others. Details of the case were sealed, and it was not immediately clear if any weapons had been seized from him.
The arrest was Sherman’s first known involvement with the criminal justice system.
At a court hearing Thursday, Sherman’s attorney did not contest that probable cause existed for the arrest. But he said Sherman should be released without bail and noted his good works in the community, including founding the Blanket Coverage Foundation, a charity that provides low-income students with school supplies and clothes.
“Richard Sherman is among the best in our community,” Offenbecher said. “He is a good person and a good soul. He is taking these allegations very seriously.”
Sherman, 33, became a Seattle sports legend during seven seasons with the Seahawks. The cornerback was a star in their run to a 2014 Super Bowl victory, making a game-saving play to deflect a pass in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers.
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