San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster has been charged by the Santa Clara County District Attorney with felony domestic violence over a dispute with his girlfriend that resulted in his arrest on February 11.
A news release by the Santa Clara County District Attorney provides further details of the incident that were not previously reported, including allegations of Foster punching his girlfriend in the head eight to 10 times. In addition to felony domestic violence, Foster was charged with felony possession of an assault weapon, forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime, and misdemeanor possession of a large capacity weapon magazine.
Foster will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today and faces more than 11 years in prison if convicted of the charges. Read the full release below:
Reuben Foster, a professional football player, was charged today with felony domestic violence against his live-in girlfriend.
Foster, 24, physically attacked the 28-year-old woman during a February argument at their Los Gatos home, leaving her bruised and with a ruptured ear drum.
Foster is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 in Department 44 of the Hall of Justice in San Jose. The defendant faces charges of domestic violence with an allegation that he inflicted great bodily injury, forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime, and possession of an assault weapon – all felonies. He is also charged with misdemeanor possession of large capacity weapon magazine. If convicted, he faces more than 11 years in prison.
Prosecutor Kevin Smith said: “Our focus is on holding accountable those who hurt their intimate partners. Our Office handles between four and five thousand domestic violence cases each year. We only hope that this case illuminates the tragic regularity of the rest.”
On February 11, the victim flagged down a stranger’s car driving on Shannon Road to call 911. She called police. The victim told responding sheriff’s deputies and Los Gatos police that Foster dragged her by her hair, physically threw her out of the house, and punched her in the head 8 to 10 times.
The victim went to a local hospital, where she was treated for her injuries, and released. During their search of Foster’s home, officers found the weapon – a Sig Sauer 516 – along with its large capacity magazine – both of which are illegal to possess in California.
Foster, a first-round draft pick out of the University of Alabama in 2017, had 72 tackles in ten games last season and appeared to be well on his way to being a core piece of the 49ers defense for years to come, but the seriousness of these charges could put his NFL career in doubt. The 49ers as of 9 a.m. PT Thursday had not announced any public response to the charges, but team CEO Jed York made it known when speaking to reporters at the annual league meetings in March that he would step in and cut Foster loose if he felt it was necessary, regardless of what head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch felt on the matter.
“Ultimately, you can say everything is my call,” York said, per NBC Sports Bay Area. “So, if it comes down to it, if there was something I’m not comfortable with but football (side) was, I would ultimately make that decision.”
If Foster remains with the 49ers this season, he also faces discipline from the NFL on this incident as well as from a January arrest for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Update 10 a.m. PT: The 49ers, who begin offseason workouts on Monday, April 16, released the following statement concerning Foster’s charges:
“The 49ers organization is aware of today’s disturbing charges regarding Reuben Foster. We will continue to follow this serious matter. Reuben is aware that his place in our organization is under great scrutiny and will depend on what is learned through the legal process.”