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UT Basketball Coach Chris Beard released from jail after domestic violence arrest

The University of Texas has suspended Beard without pay following the arrest. Rodney Terry will serve as acting head coach.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that APD received a call at 2:07 a.m., but the department later clarified the call came in at 12:15 a.m.

Chris Beard, head coach of the University of Texas at Austin's men's basketball team, has been suspended after he was arrested early Monday morning for alleged domestic violence.

The Austin Police Department (APD) said it received a "disturbance-urgent" 911 call at approximately 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 12 in Tarrytown, an affluent neighborhood to the west of Mopac and near the Colorado River and Lake Austin. APD later stated that the caller had reported a disturbance that was no longer ongoing and that one of the individuals had left the house. 

Austin-Travis County EMS also reported that it responded, but medics cleared the scene without transporting anyone to the hospital.

APD spokesperson Brandon Jones stated early Monday morning that, "It is alleged that Beard strangled a person at a home." APD later said that officers who responded to the scene located an adult woman who stated that she had been assaulted and strangled by Beard. 

Beard was booked into the Travis County Jail at 4:18 a.m., according to records. He faces a third-degree felony charge for "assault on a family/household member-impede breath circulation."

Credit: Austin Police Department

Many family violence charges are misdemeanors, but this charge is a felony because the alleged offense was "committed by intentionally, knowingly or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth." A person charged with this faces up to 10 years in prison.

Beard's bond was set at $10,000 and he was ordered to stay at least 200 yards away from the residence. He was seen leaving the jail before 3 p.m. on Monday and was picked up by Texas Men's Basketball Managing Director Chris Ogden.

UT suspended Beard without pay following the arrest. Rodney Terry, former assistant coach, will serve as acting head coach.

"The university takes matters of interpersonal violence involving members of its community seriously," the university said in a statement on Monday. "Given the information available, the university has suspended Chris Beard from his position as head coach of Men's Basketball and will withhold his pay until further notice. Associate Head Coach Rodney Terry will serve as acting head coach for tonight's game against Rice."

Beard's attorney, Perry Minton, said, "Coach Beard is 100% innocent of these charges. He should have never been arrested. The complainant wants him released immediately and all charges dismissed. It is truly inconceivable." 

The Texas men's basketball team hosted Rice University Monday night at Moody Center.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by KVUE, a woman told police that Beard was "going nuts" and that he choked her, threw her off the bed, bit her and caused bruising on her leg. She said the choking lasted for five seconds and impeded her breathing. The woman further stated that Beard had placed "an arm around her neck while he was behind her" and demonstrated the action to the APD officer. 

The woman said that leading up to the assault, Beard had not communicated with her during work. When she checked in on Beard upon his arrival, he was twirling his reading glasses and sitting up in bed. The woman became frustrated, leading her to take his glasses and break them. 

The affidavit states that after the woman broke the glasses, she returned to the master bedroom. After a period of 10 to 15 minutes, Beard moved to the bedroom and was upset about his glasses being broken. The woman attempted to give him a new pair. Beard then slapped the glasses off of her face and, when the woman tried to retrieve her glasses, he threw her off the bed onto the floor.

According to the affidavit, the woman had a visible injury to her left leg – an abrasion from her knee of her foot –  as a result of being thrown. As the woman tried to gain her bearings because she couldn't see without her glasses, the affidavit states that Beard came behind her and choked her with his arm. 

"I couldn't move or do anything at all," the woman told police, according to the affidavit.

After the incident, Beard threw the woman on the bed and moved within inches of her face, the affidavit states. The woman said that she did not know what made Beard stop. 

The woman's injuries, in addition to having been choked, were a bite mark to her right forearm with visible teeth mark and redness, an abrasion to her right eyebrow and temple area, an abrasion on her left leg spanning from her knee to foot and a cut to her left thumb with dried blood, according to the affidavit. 

The affidavit also included the "Assault Victims Statement (AVS)", which included the following injuries: scratches on her back, scratch mark to right eye, bite mark to right arm, abrasion and bruises to left leg and cut to left hand.

Also included in the AVS were the following strangulation symptoms: difficult to breathe during, shallow breathing during and rapid breathing after.

RELATED: What's next for the Texas Longhorns after Coach Chris Beard's arrest?

The affidavit also states that Beard told police that he has recordings showing he was not the primary aggressor. When asked if he would be willing to share those audio records, he reportedly said no.

APD is asking anyone with any information about this incident to call 512-974-TIPS. You may also submit your tip anonymously through Capital Area Crime Stoppers by visiting austincrimestoppers.org or by calling 512-472-8477. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and needs help, you can find local resources through the National Domestic Violence Hotline. For 24/7 assistance, call 800-799-7233 or text “START” to 88788.

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