Updated at 3 p.m.
OGGOA BREAKING: Steelers waive former Gators RB Chris Rainey
Former Florida Gators running back Chris Rainey, back in Gainesville, FL after completing his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for simple battery (dating violence) due to a touch or strike.
This latest arrest, which occurred after an altercation with a woman he has been dating for approximately nine months, was first reported by Matt Watts of The Miami Herald.
According to a release from the Gainesville Police Department:
Witnesses told officers that Rainey and the victim got into an argument over Rainey’s cellphone. The female victim entered the vehicle of Rainey’s roommate, and Rainey confronted her on the passenger side of the vehicle, and began pulling her out of the vehicle.
Witnesses then observed Rainey slap the victim across the face with an open hand. Both Rainey and the female victim then fell to the ground. The victim was able to run away, but Rainey chased after her because his cellphone was in a bag the victim was carrying. Rainey grabbed the bag again, and they both fell to the ground again.
Neither party suffered visible injuries from the encounter. Multiple witnesses confirmed the incident.
According to The Gainesville Sun, which obtained the arrest report, the incident began when his girlfriend questioned him about feeling a phone in his pocket while they were saying goodbye early in the morning. Rainey proceeded to discard the phone before returning to retrieve it and learning that his girlfriend had taken it into her possession.
When police responded to the victim’s phone call, Rainey denied accusations and witness accounts that he slapped his girlfriend. “Rainey admitted he argued over the phone, but denied slapping the victim and said they had no physical contact other than him grabbing at her bag to get the phone,” the paper reports.
Rainey was last arrested and charged with aggravated stalking in Sept. 2010. after threatening a woman he dated sporadically for approximately three years. The third-degree felony charge was reduced to a first-degree misdemeanor at the request of the victim and Rainey received six months of probation as a penalty for his actions. He fulfilled the terms of his deferred prosecution agreement on April 7, 2011, according to Alachua County Court records.
He is being held without bond and will remain in jail until he stands in front of a judge on Friday, when he will be represented in court by attorney Huntley Johnson.
Rainey will likely face an NFL suspension once the league office reviews the incident.
OGGOA will update this story as more information is made available.