Bengals’ wide-receiver Chris Henry is once again accused of breaking the law. This morning, Cincinnati television station WCPO has learned that Florence police interviewed Henry, along with Bengal Reggie McNeal on Tuesday. The two football pros may have been involved in assaulting a 16-year-old boy. The family of the victim shared their story exclusively with WCPO News last night. They talked off-camera because they say they’re not ready to publicly show their faces. But they are angry, alleging that Bengals players Chris Henry, along with a few others, beat the 16-year-old so severely that he had to be treated at the hospital for his injuries.
“It’s very obvious,” said Captain Linny Cloyd, of the Florence police department. “I’ve seen the young man. There’s no doubt he was assaulted. At this point we’re still trying to figure out who is who – where they were.” Police say the 16-year-old and an 18-year-old friend were walking along Wetherington Boulevard near Mt. Zion Road just after 11 p.m. Friday night when, they say a black Navigator or Escalade pulled up next to them. According to the police report, a white male jumped out and started punching the 16-year-old in the face. “From that, the victim tells us another gentleman got out of the vehicle the same vehicle and in their attempt to get away, was shoved to the ground by this African American gentleman,” said Cloyd.
The teen identified that man as Bengals receiver Chris Henry, and says receiver Reggie McNeill was also in the vehicle. The teen also alleges that they were throwing beer bottles at him as he tried to run away. WCPO News tried to talk to Henry Tuesday night, but no one at his house wanted to talk to them. Henry lives just a few blocks away from where police say the assault happened. “We have been in contact with Mr. Henry and Mr. McNeal as to their whereabouts,” said Capt. Cloyd. “They deny being in the area, or knowing this gentleman.” Police say they are at this time still following leads and their investigation is on-going.
Chris Henry has been arrested four times in the past year-and-a-half for marijuana and gun charges, drunk driving and providing alcohol to female minors. His run-ins with the law got him an eight-game, unpaid suspension this upcoming season. If these allegation are true, this could quite possibly spell the end of Chris Henry’s career. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said that Henry would be banished for life if there were any more run-ins with the law.
Before we crucify Henry here, let’s spell out some legal facts: Unless there is evidence that Henry and the boy already knew each other, or that Henry was doing something really stupid like wearing his Bengals jersey at the time, this one could be hard to prove without some serious investigative work. But then again, it’s not just the 16-year-old’s word against that of Henry, McNeal, and whoever might have been with them; the boy indeed had a friend who was there. If the pair tell a convincing story, it might just be enough to get the police to act. If it turns out that Henry was involved, I wouldn’t be surprised. Just the fact the fact that Henry couldn’t stay out of trouble when he had a job will make it even more difficult for him to keep himself clean during his eight-game suspension for multiple violations of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Another thing to consider in this situation: Don’t forget that Henry currently is on probation for gun charges in Orlando (yes – where he was wearing his Bengals jersey at the time) and in Kentucky for pleading guilty to giving alcohol to a minor. So while the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt would apply to any new charges filed, a much lower standard will apply if he faces revocation of his probation. In Kentucky, that by itself could mean 88 days in jail. So at the moment, things aren’t looking too promising for Henry or Reggie McNeill.