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Warrant Issued for Iverson

Jurisprudence: NBA All-Star charged with four felonies and is expected to surrender to police Tuesday.

July 12, 2002|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An arrest warrant was issued in Philadelphia on Thursday for 76er star Allen Iverson for allegedly forcing his way into an apartment and threatening two men while in search of his wife.

Iverson, whose often brilliant style on the court has contrasted with an often controversial lifestyle, is being charged with eight counts ranging from simple assault, terrorist threats and gun offenses to criminal trespass, according to Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham. With four of the counts felonies, Iverson faces up to 54 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

The former league most valuable player, three-time All-Star and rookie of the year, who led his team to the NBA Finals a year ago, will be allowed to surrender to police Tuesday morning after his lawyer returns from vacation, police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said. Until then, Iverson is not permitted to leave his suburban Philadelphia mansion.

"If Iverson is seen on the street or out partying, we will arrest him," Johnson said.

Iverson and his uncle, Gregory Iverson, are alleged to have pushed their way into the apartment of Allen's cousin on the morning of July 3, seeking Allen's wife, Tawanna. According to the tapes of a 911 call obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 76er guard had thrown his wife of nearly a year out of their home naked after a dispute that, according to the paper, had stretched over two days.

"The police did a thorough, complete and professional investigation," Johnson said. "I'm very comfortable that the people who have made the complaints are telling the truth."

Gregory Iverson also has been charged in the case.

Police searched the homes of both Allen and Gregory Iverson Thursday.

Two 76er officials expressed support for their six-year veteran Thursday.

"The bottom line is, he's not guilty right now," said Coach Larry Brown, who has often clashed with Iverson over the player's work ethic. "I'm hopeful this thing gets resolved and the kid can move on with his life. He's part of our family and will always be a part of our family."

Said 76er General Manager Billy King: "We are supporting him through the legal process. He is innocent until proven guilty."

According to a police affidavit, neither Iverson's wife nor his cousin, Shaun Bowman, were present at the Cobbs Creek Court apartment complex when the incident allegedly occurred there. Bowman's roommate, Charles Jones, and a friend of Jones were in the apartment, according to the report.

Iverson "continuously threatened harm to the complainants and wanted Charles to make numerous phone calls to locate Tawanna and Shaun," according to court documents. Iverson also "showed the complainants a black handgun" that had been in his waistband, said the report. Iverson does not have a gun permit, nor does he have a gun registered in Pennsylvania, police said.

After leaving the apartment, Iverson and his uncle drove to a motel where Tawanna had rented two rooms, but failed to find her there either, according to police. When police encountered Iverson and his uncle, the two were in the motel parking lot in search of Tawanna's car.

Neither Iverson nor his wife have commented on the charges.

This is not the 27-year-old Iverson's first brush with the law.

He was arrested in a bowling alley brawl in Hampton, Va., in 1993 and spent four months in prison before being granted clemency. The conviction was overturned on appeal in 1995.

Two years later, Iverson pleaded no contest to a gun charge after police near Richmond, Va., stopped a car in which he was a passenger and found a gun belonging to Iverson and two marijuana cigarettes. A marijuana-possession charge was dropped.

Iverson completed 100 hours of community service, two years of drug testing and three years probation, after which his record was expunged.

Iverson's involvement in rap music also created controversy when he recorded a CD two years ago that used harsh terms to describe women and gays and was seen as promoting violence.

"I hope the sports fans of America don't think this is insidious," Abraham said. "This is just another case for me."

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