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Cardinals' Dwyer arrested on assault charges

Team deactivates running back after police reports of two altercations allegedly involving a woman and their child

Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on Wednesday on aggravated assault charges in connection with two altercations at his home in July involving a woman and their 18-month-old child, the latest in a string of such cases involving NFL players.

The Cardinals said they became aware of the situation on Wednesday and are cooperating with the investigation.

"Given the serious nature of these allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities," the team said in a statement.

The NFL said the case will be reviewed under the league's personal-conduct policy.

Dwyer, who turned pro with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, was led into the jail in handcuffs to be booked on counts that include aggravated assault causing a fracture and involving a minor, criminal damage and preventing the use of a phone in an emergency. He was released early on Thursday after posting bond, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

The NFL has been rocked by domestic violence issues ever since a videotape surfaced that showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, elevator. Then Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on felony child-abuse charges. On Wednesday, the Carolina Panthers decided that star defensive end Greg Hardy will not play any more games for the team until his domestic violence case is resolved.

Critics have been calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's resignation for his handling of Rice's case and the fallout. Rice was originally suspended for two games, then banned indefinitely after the video surfaced of his attack in the casino elevator.

The "aggravated assault causing a fracture" count involved the 27-year-old victim, whom they did not identify. Police said they were carrying out a search warrant of Dwyer's residence in pursuit of more evidence.

Police said that in interviews with detectives, the 25-year-old player denied committing any assault. There was no reply to a telephone message left for Dwyer's agent, Adisa Bakari, seeking comment on Wednesday.

Authorities depicted a stormy relationship between Dwyer and the woman that escalated into violence on July 21, four days before the Cardinals reported to training camp.

Neighbors heard a fight and called police, who showed up at the residence but left without making an arrest because Dwyer hid in the bathroom and the woman said no one else was at the home, and that she was ”in an argument on the phone,” Sgt. Trent Crump said.

The next day, Crump said, Dwyer snatched the woman's cellphone and threw it from the second floor of their residence to prevent her from calling police about another dispute.

Crump confirmed there was an allegation that Dwyer threw a shoe at or toward his son. Crump said he couldn't elaborate on it.

Crump said the woman moved out of state with the child, but came forward last week and provided police with information about her injuries and text messages indicating Dwyer "was going to harm himself because of what had been going on."

Calls for judge to resign

Also on Wednesday, Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, both Republicans of Alabama, joined Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, in calling for the resignation of Alabama-based U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller who was accused of beating his wife in an Atlanta hotel room last month.

“Judge Fuller’s unacceptable personal conduct violates the trust that has been placed in him. He can no longer effectively serve in his position and should step down,” Sessions said in a statement.

Alabama U.S. Representative Terri Sewell, Democrat of Alabama, called for Fuller's resignation last week.

Earlier this month, Fuller, 55, resolved a misdemeanor charge of battery stemming from the incident with his wife by agreeing to attend a six-month domestic violence program and to submit to a substance abuse assessment.

Barry Ragsdale, an attorney for Fuller, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

A 2002 appointee of former President George W. Bush, Fuller is facing an administrative complaint and was stripped of his docket by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals following the incident. In a statement after resolving his criminal case, Fuller said he hoped to resume work.

Wire services

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