Aroldis Chapman Won’t Face Charges Over Domestic Dispute

However, the Yankees pitcher is still being investigated by MLB

Aroldis Chapman — Getty Images
Jan 22, 2016 at 9:52 AM ET

Prosecutors declined to file charges against Aroldis Chapman, who’s accused of firing shots in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend last October, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. A close-out memo written by Broward County Assistant State Attorney Stefanie Newman states that conflicting accounts of the incident and insufficient evidence made it unlikely that the Yankees pitcher would be convicted.

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According to the original police report, Chapman’s girlfriend, Cristina Barnea, alleged that Chapman pushed and choked her during an argument. Chapman agreed there was an argument but says that Barnea’s brother pushed him before he eventually locked himself in his garage and fired eight shots from a handgun into the wall and window of the garage.

The case against Chapman ultimately fell apart after Barnea recanted or modified her original allegations. However, Chapman is still being investigated under MLB’s new domestic violence policy.

Chapman joins Yasiel Puig and Jose Reyes as players currently being investigated under the policy, which was adopted in August of last year. While both Chapman and Puig won’t be charged in a court of law, Reyes’ case is ongoing. The fact that Chapman and Puig won’t face any legal consequences over their alleged domestic violence makes for an interesting test of MLB’s domestic violence policy.

While the policy does take into account the outcome of legal proceedings, it is not necessarily beholden to those outcomes. How exactly that plays out on a case-by-case basis remains to be seen, but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has acknowledged the significance of the policy’s first real test.

“When you have a new policy, the first ones take on a special significance in terms of tone and precedent and all those things,” Manfred said. “So I’m going to make sure that I know everything I could possibly know about each of these cases before I make any decisions.”

In other words, this is all going to boil down to the gut instincts of someone who is neither an expert on domestic violence nor a legal official. If this is progress, then it’s also an indictment of the legal system’s capacity to handle domestic violence cases in a satisfactory manner. Either way, MLB is now attempting to offer its own internal adjudication of domestic violence cases and that is probably not going to work out well for anyone.