Gopher basketball player charged in domestic assault


University of Minnesota basketball player Daquein Dominique McNeil was charged with third-degree assault and domestic assault by strangulation Wednesday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced at a news conference.

McNeil, who likely will spend his 21st birthday Friday in the Hennepin County Jail, will make his first court appearance Monday. Prosecutors have asked for bail of $75,000, Freeman said.

"Mr. McNeil is the Minnesota Gophers basketball player who, on Monday, went to his girlfriend's house and caused substantial bodily harm," Freeman said. "This situation saddens and disappoints us."

Freeman noted that McNeil overcame a difficult childhood to land a scholarship to study and play basketball at the university. "Having said that, the police reports and the injuries to his girlfriend are just unacceptable."

Police were called to an apartment on the 900 block of Fulton Street Southeast, just after 11:38 a.m. Monday. The victim told police that she has been dating McNeil for about 10 months and she was asleep when he came to the apartment to pick up his backpack. However, he came into the woman's room and smashed a mirror, pulled out her dresser drawers and poured alcohol on her clothes and other items while yelling that she was ruining his life, according to the criminal complaint.

The woman's roommate came in and managed to get McNeil to leave the apartment. Not long after that, the roommate left, too. Not long after the roommate left, McNeil came back and dragged the woman off her bed by her ankles. He repeatedly dumped cold water on her, then pushed her up against a wall and began strangling her. Later, he took a wet towel and snapped her with it and then whipped her with a belt, the complaint states.

Police found large welts and marks all over the woman's body, a cut on her wrist and a reddish mark on her neck, according to the police.

Freeman told reporters that no one knows why McNeil turned violent against her and that the victim had indicated that he had not been violent towards her in the past.

McNeil criminal charge (PDF)

Watch a video of the press conference