Ruling Made In Police Investigation Into Ja Morant
By Jason Hall
March 8, 2023
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant will not be charged following a police investigation into Instagram Live video in which he was holding a gun at a nightclub, the Glendale Police Department announced in a press release obtained and shared by the Athletic's Shams Charania.
"GPD was not able to determine that probable cause existed for the filing of any charges," the department said. "In this case, it should be noted that on the night in question the GPD did not receive any calls for service at the nightclub regarding a weapon of any type.
"Subsequently, no disturbances were reported, and no citizens or patrons of the club came forward to make a complaint. The investigation also concluded that no one was threatened or menaced with the firearm and in fact no firearm was ever located.
"Although the video was concerning enough to prompt an investigation, there was not enough available evidence to charge anyone with a crime. Under our justice system all persons are presumed innocent until proven otherwise."
Just in: Glendale, Colorado police has closed its investigation into Grizzlies star Ja Morant with no charge or crime: “There was not enough available evidence to charge anyone with a crime.” Full release: pic.twitter.com/Ng0uYdoLpp— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 8, 2023
The Glendale Police Department previously said the incident occurred at a bar in Glendale, which is a small enclave surrounded by Denver that is known for its strip clubs and shopping centers and its looking into whether the All-Star violated any gun laws during the incident. Colorado is an open-carry state, however, has several exceptions, which includes prohibiting the possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol.
The NBA, which prohibits players from possessing a firearm during team business trips, has already announced it is investigating the incident involving Morant. It hasn't been determined whether the point guard was intoxicated during the video, but others were shown drinking alcohol.
Glendale Police Capt. Jamie Dillon told the Associated Press that previously said that the department didn't receive complaints about Morant's actions, but was looking into the video after it was shared online Friday night. Morant, who missed last Saturday's (March 4) game against the Los Angeles Clippers, has been away from the Grizzlies amid the NBA's ongoing investigation and the team hasn't publicly given a timeline for his return.
Last week, police records obtained by Molly Hensley-Clancy of the Washington Post accused Morant of punching a 17-year-old a dozen times and flashing a gun at him in relation to an alleged incident that took place during a pickup basketball game at Morant's house last summer.
The teenager claimed Morant punched him "12-13 times" before going into his house and re-emerging "with a gun visible in the waistband of his pants and his hand on the weapon," according to interviews conducted by Shelby County Sheriff's Offices detectives included in the police records. Morant reportedly told police that he "swung first" in the alleged fight, but claimed he was acting in self-defense after the 17-year-old threw a basketball at his head and approached him.
Additionally, Morant is also accused of threatening the head of security at a Memphis mall days before the alleged incident, which resulted in a member of the basketball player's group shoving the victim in the head. The Shelby County District Attorney's Office issued a statement to Hensley-Clancy claiming prosecutors declined to press charges against Morant as "there was not enough evidence to proceed with a case."
TMZ Sports had previously reported that the teenager had filed a lawsuit against Morant on January 3 stemming from an alleged incident that took place in September, which the teenager said occurred after he "accidentally" hit the point guard in the face with the ball. The teen claimed Morant asked a bystander "Should I do it to him" before swinging at him with "a closed fist."
Morant claimed the teenager "made verbal threats stating he'd 'light his house up'" which resulted in he in his family fearing for their safety. The teenager claimed Morant and his friend hit him hard enough to result in a "large knot" on the side of his head, with deputies confirming that "they observed the boy's injuries," Hensley-Clancy reported.
Last month, Bob Kravitz and Sam Amick of the Athletic reported that the NBA investigated allegations made by the Indiana Pacers that acquaintances of Morant "aggressively confronted" members of the team's traveling party after their road game against the Grizzlies at FedEx Forum on January 29. The Pacers' traveling party claimed a person in a "slow-moving SUV" that Morant was traveling in "trained a red laser on them," though it was unclear if it was attached to a gun.
NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told the Athletic that an investigation conducted by the league "substantiated that a postgame situation arose that was confrontational," however, it could "not corroborate that any individual threatened others with a weapon."
Morant said one of his friends was banned from attending Grizzlies games for a full year and claimed the Pacers' traveling party was lying about the incident. The guard wasn't suspended in relation to the alleged incident.
Morant, a former No. 2 overall pick and NBA Rookie of the Year, is coming off back-to-back All-Star appearances and is currently averaging 27.2 points, 8.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game during the 2022-23 season.