Just when you thought the National Football League’s public image couldn’t get worse, another star player was charged with domestic abuse. Adrian Peterson, running back for the Minnesota Vikings, was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas of reckless or negligent injury to a child. The indictment stems from Peterson’s alleged actions in which he disciplined his 4-year-old son by beating him with a “switch,” a small tree branch stripped of its leaves.
With the indictment, a warrant was issued for Peterson’s arrest. Sources close to the Vikings running back say that he has cooperated with authorities and has turned himself in. He recently posted $15,000 bond and was released.
What is a grand jury?
A grand jury is a group of people(usually 20 or more) that hears evidence presented by the state and determines whether there is enough information to sustain charges against a defendant. The grand jury can return an indictment (i.e. a call for the defendant to answer the charges) or it can deny the charges. A grand jury indictment does not mean that a defendant is guilty. Instead, it only means that a defendant could be found guilty if all the elements of the crime are proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Hence, the adage that a ham sandwich could be indicted.
Nevertheless, in light of the public relations disaster emanating from the Ray Rice video, the Vikings have deactivated Peterson for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots. It remains to be seen whether Peterson will miss more games as the process goes along under the NFL’s new domestic violence policy.