The San Francisco 49ers officially find themselves in the midst of another domestic violence situation following Bruce Miller's arrest last Thursday. Miller was booked on suspicion of spousal battery, and now we wait and see how the criminal justice system, the NFL and the 49ers all deal with this situation.
The police would not provide details on the case, but Monday evening, Eric Branch and Henry Lee of the San Francisco Chronicle posted some new information.
Scanner recordings reviewed by The Chronicle revealed that the alleged victim called police to the Posh Bagel at 3957 Rivermark Plaza about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, saying she was behind the restaurant and that her boyfriend had "attacked her and took her keys."
She then said, "'Never mind,' and hung up," a dispatcher told police. A witness described the suspect — identified on the recording as Miller — as being 6-foot-3 and weighing 250 pounds.
"He was physically booked," Clarke said.
Spousal battery comes under California penal code section 243(e)(1). Here is that section in full:
When a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant's child, former spouse, fiance, or fiancee, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. If probation is granted, or the execution or imposition of the sentence is suspended, it shall be a condition thereof that the defendant participate in, for no less than one year, and successfully complete, a batterer's treatment program, as described in Section 1203.097, or if none is available, another appropriate counseling program designated by the court. However, this provision shall not be construed as requiring a city, a county, or a city and county to provide a new program or higher level of service as contemplated by Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
A person can be charged with spousal battery even if no injury occurs. Battery is defined as any wilful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. The more serious version of domestic violence in this case would be corporal injury on a spouse, cohabitant or fellow parent, which requires physical injury.
Given what the Chronicle was able to review, this leaves us in a potentially murky area. We don't know yet what entails "attack[ed] her". He could have grabbed her arm to grab the keys, he could have hit her, we just don't know. It appears Miller has acknowledged something went down. This Instagram discussion was screen-capped before being deleted. He says he is an a--hole, but there are no further details.
The next step is whether or not Miler is giving a paid suspension and/or put on the Commissioner's exempt list until this is resolved. Miller is due to see his $819,000 of his 2015 salary ($1.1 million) become guaranteed on April 1. He is also due a $40,000 workout bonus and $160,000 in a roster bonus. The 49ers begin their offseason workout program in early April, so expect some kind of preliminary resolution before that happens.
I am curious to see whether we hear any mentions of due process like during the first Ray McDonald incident last year. Do we see a suspension or a release? I have no idea right now, and it might be a couple weeks before we hear anything new.