Maurice Cheeks not charged after witness refuses to cooperate, leaves state

Detroit Free Press:

Detroit Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks will not be charged in a domestic incident that occurred Aug. 30 in Birmingham, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper told the Free Press today.

Cheeks went to the Birmingham police station for questioning and was released after police were called to a Woodward Avenue address. He was not arrested. Birmingham police conducted an investigation and presented its findings to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office.

Cooper said the witness in the investigation was uncooperative with prosecutors and refused to press charges. “She left the state and refused to cooperate,” Cooper said.

When Maurice Cheekssituation initially came to light, this is the result I had desired: Cheeks not being charged. But I had hoped that was because evidence would show this was a big misunderstanding and Cheeks is the good guy we’d all believed him to be.

This isn’t that.

We’re still light on details, but for Cheeks to avoid charges this way, with the witness refusing to cooperate and leaving the state, does not return faith in his reputation the way a thorough investigation would have. Maybe Cheeks acted completely appropriately, but this outcome doesn’t exactly demonstrate that. Of course, it doesn’t demonstrate Cheeks acted inappropriately, either.

We’re left knowing practically nothing other than Cheeks did something that can be described as a “domestic incident,” police questioned him and didn’t arrest him, the witness was uncooperative and there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him.

There are a wide range of reasonable conclusions to draw from those set of facts, and everyone can make their own judgments. Personally, I’m still rooting for Cheeks to succeed with the Pistons – players’ crimes rarely turn hometown fans against them, and Cheeks was never charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime – and I’m certainly not rushing to any conclusions just because he was questioned by police, especially considering how black men are treated by this country’s law-enforcement system. But until Cheeks addresses the situation publically or more information emerges, I can’t help but wonder what happened Aug. 30, and accordingly, I can no longer blindly trust that Cheeks is an A+ human being.*

*I probably shouldn’t have such blind trust in someone I’ve never met, and even in people I know well, for that matter. But I did. That’s my fault, and it’s incidents like these that will prevent me from repeating that mistake.

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