Former Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Chad Wheeler is facing a first-degree assault domestic violence charge after prosecutors in King County – Washington alleged he assaulted and strangled his girlfriend till she lost consciousness at their apartment on Friday, January 22.
The 27-year-old was also charged with unlawful imprisonment domestic violence and resisting arrest, The Seattle Times reported. He was taken into custody and booked into the King County jail on Saturday. He was, however, released on Tuesday after posting a $400,000 bail.
Per the police report of the incident, officers responded to a 911 call by the victim who said she was being “killed” and had locked herself in a bathroom after she got involved in a “physical fight” with her boyfriend. Upon arrival, the officers said they heard screams from the couple’s home, and they eventually found the two of them in the bathroom after having to break into the home and the bathroom as well.
Wheeler was uncooperative when the officers tried detaining him, with the charging documents revealing three Kent police officers had to resort to using hand strikes and Tasers before they were able to restrain him. The victim suffered a broken arm, dislocated elbow, and facial, eye, throat and lung injuries.
Wheeler weighs 350 pounds and is 6’ 7” while the victim weighs 145 pounds is 5’9”, according to the report.
The documents also stated the victim told the police Wheeler suffered from a bi-polar disorder and was not taking his medication, causing him to relapse on the day of the incident. She said Wheeler, who she described as being in a “dark place” that night, confronted her and asked her to bow to him. When she asked him what he was implying, Wheeler grabbed her neck and threw her on the bed before proceeding to strangle her until she lost consciousness, The Seattle Times reported. When she tried crawling away, he forcefully pulled her by the arm and strangled her the second time. She fled to the bathroom when she regained consciousness and got in touch with her friends to call for help.
The police report also stated Wheeler said, “Wow you’re alive?” when he realized the victim had regained consciousness. After authorities criminally charged Wheeler, the Seattle Seahawks released a statement on Wednesday announcing he had officially been waived from the team.
“The Seahawks are saddened by the details emerging against Chad Wheeler and strongly condemn this act of domestic violence,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and support are with the victim. Chad is a free agent and no longer with the team.” They also encouraged him to “get the help he needs.”
Wheeler also took to his Twitter to apologize for the “pain and suffering” he caused to the victim and her family, saying the incident happened as a result of a “manic episode.”
“I apologize profusely for the turmoil that I have caused to my family, teammates, fans and those closest to me. The most important thing right now is that [the victim] gets the care she needs and I get help. Both are happening,” he said, adding: “It is time for me to walk away from football and get the help I need to never again pose a threat to another. I cannot express my sorrow or remorse enough. I am truly ashamed.”
Following the incident, some social media users shared photos of the supposed injured victim who is reportedly Black. Sports journalist Jemele Hill also questioned why the incident wasn’t being considered as a hate crime as well as attempted murder.
“I am not going to repost the pictures of Chad Wheeler’s victim, but if this horrible situation isn’t seen in the context of hate crime, journalists are being irresponsible. I’m also wondering why this isn’t considered attempted murder,” she tweeted.
In another tweet, she wrote: “My prayer is that this deserved and necessary outrage for Chad Wheeler is here all of the time for black women who have been abused.”