Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham was back in jail for a time Monday, this time accused of sending threatening text messages to his live-in girlfriend soon after he was charged with choking her in their Medina home.
Cunningham, charged Friday with felony domestic assault, was arrested again by police Sunday on suspicion of making terroristic threats.
On Monday, the 26-year-old, wearing orange jail garb, appeared in Hennepin County District Court on the initial accusation. Some members of his family, including his father, were present at the brief hearing, as was Bob Goedderz, the Timberwolves’ security chief. Cunningham was represented by Minnetonka attorney Emanuel Serstock.
Judge Kathryn Quaintance set his bail at $150,000. Later Monday, he posted bond and left jail. The Hennepin County attorney’s office has until noon Tuesday to charge him in the terroristic threats case.
The latest alleged offense unfolded this way, according to authorities: About 3 a.m. Sunday, the woman called police back to the home in the 400 block of Medina Road and said Cunningham was violating a court order for protection that barred him from having contact with her.
She said she was receiving “threatening messages” from Cunningham, said Police Chief Ed Belland, who said, “Officers reviewed the messages and found they were direct and rose to a terroristic level.”
Cunningham turned himself in shortly before noon Sunday in Minneapolis, the chief added. Serstock said he did so because he wanted to show that the allegations are not true.
Cunningham joined the Wolves in Orlando on Saturday and started in the absence of the injured Kevin Love. He played because the NBA and its teams typically do not discipline or suspend players until the legal process is completed. The team, in consultation with the league and its lawyers, allowed Cunningham to play.
At Monday’s Timberwolves practice, forward Corey Brewer talked about the labor agreement that protects players from suspension or punishment until their matter is settled legally. “I don’t know, you stay out of trouble,” he said. “But until you know the whole situation, you can’t do anything. For us, we just concentrate on playing tomorrow and playing these last six games. We’re trying to win.”
Said coach Rick Adelman: “I just can’t even comment on it, because I really don’t know all the circumstances. So, it’s something we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that, and move on when we find out.”
According to the complaint in last week’s incident, the woman told authorities that the two have been living together for eight months but have been having problems lately, including an argument about 3:30 a.m. Thursday after which Cunningham left in anger and she then locked the bedroom door.
A short time later, the complaint stated, Cunningham returned, kicked in the bedroom door, slammed her against the wall and choked her for about 15 to 20 seconds before letting her go and leaving.
After he was arrested and the domestic assault charge was filed, Cunningham was released from jail Friday night. He posted $40,000 bail and was ordered not to have any contact with the woman.
In court on Monday, Quaintance stressed the no-contact order, saying that Cunningham may not go back to the home without a police escort. Further, no phone calls, text or any other communication can take place between the two, the judge said.