Bench warrant issued for Arenas after missing hearing

Updated: June 27, 2006, 10:58 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas missed a court hearing Tuesday on a charge of resisting an officer without violence, and a warrant was briefly issued before the arraignment was rescheduled.

Neither Arenas, the Wizards' leading scorer, nor his attorney showed up for the morning arraignment. Miami-Dade County Judge Samuel Slom issued a bench warrant for the player's arrest and set a $2,000 bond.

The Wizards contacted the judge on Arenas' behalf and told him the player didn't receive a written notice regarding the court date, Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement.

Slom then lifted the arrest warrant, canceled the $2,000 bond and rescheduled the arraignment. A date has not been set. Slom said missed first court appearances and rescheduled arraignments are common, especially for people from out of state.

"We are very confident this issue will be resolved," Grunfeld said.

An arrest warrant was issued June 21 for free agent Awvee Storey, who missed his court appearance that day for a criminal traffic charge of disobeying a police order.

Storey's agent Mark Bartelstein said Tuesday his client did not know about the hearing and that he hoped the matter could be resolved with the judge in that case.

Arenas had been out on $1,000 bond. He and Storey were arrested during Memorial Day weekend in Miami Beach.

Police said Storey had been blocking traffic in the middle of a busy street when an officer told him to walk back to the sidewalk. Storey did not get out of the street, and the officer arrested him and charged him with failure to obey a command.

While police were arresting Storey, Arenas got out of a vehicle and walked toward the arresting officers. According to police reports, an officer told Arenas to get back in his vehicle, but he refused, saying he wanted to stand next to his teammate. The officer took Arenas into custody and he was charged.

As Arenas was being arrested he said, "You can't arrest me. I'm a basketball player. I play for the Washington Wizards, and I'm not going to leave my teammate," according to a Miami Beach police report.

Arenas has publicly denied those statements, and did so again Tuesday.

"Everyone who knows me, knows I don't have a cocky personality," Arenas said in a statement released by the Wizards. "I don't use my name to get in trouble and I don't use my name to get out of trouble. That would never come out of mouth."

Police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said Tuesday that the comments were sworn to by the officer who wrote the arrest document.

"I don't think an officer would perjure himself and risk his career for a misdemeanor arrest," Hernandez said.

Arenas led the Wizards to the Eastern Conference playoffs, where they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. He was named to the All-NBA third team and averaged 29.3 points, fourth in the NBA this season.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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