Artest arrested after woman reports violence

Published 12:59 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2007

By By JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writer
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest was arrested Monday after a woman called 911 from his home saying she had been assaulted.
Placer County sheriff’s deputies responded about 9:30 a.m. to Artest’s five-acre estate in the Sacramento suburb of Loomis, where they found a woman who had suffered injuries, officials said. She declined medical attention.
Deputies arrested Artest on suspicion of domestic violence and using force or violence to prevent the woman from reporting a crime, sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin said.
Artest, the central figure of the infamous 2004 brawl between Indiana Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans, was booked into the Placer County Jail and released later on $50,000 bail.
Erwin said she could not disclose the woman’s injuries or characterize her relationship with the player. She said Artest was cooperative when deputies arrived at his home.
Sheriff’s officials obtained an emergency protective order that prevents Artest from returning to the house or contacting the woman until she can obtain a restraining order, sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Scott said during an afternoon news conference. He said such action was normal procedure in domestic violence cases.
Geoff Petrie, the Kings’ president of basketball operations, said the team was removing Artest from the team, pending a full investigation.
Team spokesman Troy Hanson told The Associated Press that Artest had not been suspended and still was being paid.
Artest, who joined the Kings from the Indiana Pacers in January 2006, has had previous run-ins with police.
He was at the center of the Nov. 19, 2004 brawl between Pacers players and Pistons fans at The Palace in Detroit. Just when a confrontation between players seemed to be over, Artest, lying on the scorer’s table, was hit with a cup filled with an icy beverage. He bolted into the stands in a rage, followed by fist-swinging teammate Stephen Jackson. Artest and teammate Jermaine O’Neal later slugged fans on the court.
Two days later, Artest was suspended for the rest of the season — 73 games, plus the playoffs — in a move that cost him almost $5 million.
Artest and Jackson were sentenced to one year of probation and 60 hours of community service after pleading no contest to misdemeanor assault charges. In January, Artest was released from that probation.
Artest has spent nearly 14 months with Sacramento since the Kings acquired him in a blockbuster trade for fan favorite Peja Stojakovic. His short tenure is following a familiar script for the volatile former St. John’s star: Initial excitement and outstanding play, followed by disinterest, distractions — and now, more legal trouble.
Last month, county animal control officers seized Artest’s Great Dane, Socks, from his home in a gated community about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento. They said the animal wasn’t being fed. County records showed the NBA star had paid nearly $2,000 in boarding and impound fees for his dogs, which had spent 77 nights at the pound since July.
Last season, Artest guaranteed the then-struggling Kings would make the playoffs shortly after he arrived, and they surged to the No. 8 seed and an impressive performance in a first-round loss to San Antonio.
Artest’s dogged defense and passion fit in well with Sacramento’s devoted fans, who adopted him as a community favorite.
This season hasn’t been as easy for Artest, who’s averaging 18.7 points and 6.6 rebounds while the Kings struggle at 27-32. Sacramento, which hosts Artest’s former Indiana teammates on Tuesday night, has battled poor team chemistry and inconsistent play under new coach Eric Musselman.
Though Artest had been a model teammate in his abbreviated first season, he sparked controversy two months ago by indirectly criticizing Mike Bibby’s defense. Artest also missed a handful of games with a knee injury that came as news to the Kings — and last month, he sat out of the Kings’ visit to Indiana for undisclosed personal reasons.
The Kings were rumored to be exploring trades for Artest but didn’t make a deal at last month’s trade deadline.
Sacramento has won its last three games, with Artest playing well in road victories over Portland and the Los Angeles Lakers — after shaving the word ‘‘Kings’’ into the back of his head.
AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in Tucson, Ariz., contributed to this report.