Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen won't face a felony charge on suspicion of battery after allegedly assaulting a police officer and being tased near the University of Southern California campus on Monday afternoon.
Prosecutors in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced today that they declined to file felony charges against Griffen based on the absence of injury and the defendant's absence of criminal history, according to press secretary Jane Robison.
Robison said in a statement that the case has been referred to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office for misdemeanor consideration. Griffen was released from a Los Angeles jail early Tuesday after posting $50,000 bail and was scheduled to make his first court appearance on Feb. 25.
According to the website run by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department, Griffen was released at 1:21 a.m. Pacific Time.
Frank Mateljan, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, said his office has up to a year to review the case, although the expectation is it won't take nearly that long. However, there is a chance Griffen's court date could be delayed or vacated, if no misdemeanor charges are filed.
Vikings spokesman Jeff Anderson said in a statement early Tuesday morning that: "We are aware of yesterday's alleged incident involving Everson Griffen. At this time the team is gathering all the facts and will withhold any further comment."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello also confirmed the league is looking into Griffen's arrest. Representatives for Griffen did not return repeated phone calls on Tuesday.
Monday's arrest isn't Griffen's only legal problem in the past few days. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that Griffen also was arrested just after midnight on Saturday for being drunk in public in Hollywood. He was released later that day.
In Monday's incident, police said they pulled Griffen over around 4 p.m. Pacific time, but he did not have valid identification on him. When officers questioned Griffen, he became aggressive and attempted to run away. Griffen then assaulted one of the officers who were pursuing him. Griffen was tased and arrested.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Griffen said "he did not want to go back to jail."
Griffen also was cited by police in Nantucket, Mass., for a noise violation on July 4, 2009, but it wasn't completely clear initially why he would have mentioned going back to jail. TMZ's website helped to clear up why Griffen mentioned returning to jail when it was the first to report that he spent time Saturday in police custody.