Free agent cornerback Richard Sherman has been arrested and notably denied bail in King County, Washington after a bizarre series of events overnight. The famed cornerback was arrested in connection to a hit-and-run but charged with burglary domestic violence, a charge that might not be familiar to many of our readers. It is a very serious charge and explains the initial denial of bail.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Sherman was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run and damage to state Department of Transportation property. Schefter reports the Washington State Patrol states that at about 1 a.m. PT, they received a report of a single-car accident in which a car hit a concrete barrier. The driver reportedly abandoned the vehicle in a nearby parking lot, and when the registration was run, it came back to Sherman.
Around 2 am, police heard from relatives who said that a family member who did not live in their house was trying to break in. Eventually, Sherman was located and police say he resisted arrest and had to be taken down by a police K9.
The public charge is burglary domestic violence. Domestic violence charges often come with an initial denial of bail. It is likely that he will receive bail though there can be strict limits and possible monitoring in some cases.
Additional charges are likely to be added due to the hit-and-run and possible resisting arrest.
Under Washington law, domestic violence can take the form of a variety of charges, including burglary. The reference to burglary does not mean entry to steal property. It can also involve the intent to do violence. The key is entry without consent.
The two common charges are first or second degree burglary domestic violence. Under RCW 9A.52.030 (1), this can be charged as a Class B felony:
A person is guilty of burglary in the second degree if, with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, he or she enters or remains unlawfully in a building other than a vehicle or a dwelling.
Under this lesser charge, the penalties can reach up to 10 years of incarceration, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.
The more serious first degree charge is made under RCW 9A.52.020 (1):
A person is guilty of burglary in the first degree if, with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, he or she enters or remains unlawfully in a building and if, in entering or while in the building or in immediate flight therefrom, the actor or another participant in the crime (a) is armed with a deadly weapon, or (b) assaults any person.
The penalties for first degree charges go up to a life sentence of jail time and up to $50,000 in fines.
Those are hefty charges even as a Class B felony.
While Sherman was expected to sign in the coming weeks with a new team. Speculation tied the former 49er to the New Orleans Saints. A domestic violence crime could be a career ending — or at least suspending — matter. That would be a terrible loss for Sherman — and football — given him well-deserved position as one of the living legends of the sport.
There is no report of a weapon or an assault by Sherman.
As an avid football fan, I hope that these reports are proven wrong and that this was a hit-and-run only with damage to government property. That is not good but it is not career ending. However, if he entered the home with intent to commit a crime, this could put not just his career but his liberty in peril.
For full disclosure, while I admire him as an athlete, I have been a critic of Sherman and some previously objected to my referring to his “thuggish” conduct on the field. However, this was a reference to his conduct during games. I am unaware of any serious criminal charge — or even minor criminal charge — in his past. If that is true, he would be a first offender who has an impressive record of community service, including his charity Blanket Coverage – The Richard Sherman Family Foundation which helps children in low-income communities.