Former Miami Dolphin Mark Walton was freed on bond as of 8 p.m. Wednesday from a Broward County jail, records show.
At his first appearance hearing earlier in the morning, a judge set his bond at $10,000.
Broward Judge Jackie Powell also ordered Walton to get a substance abuse evaluation after he is released from jail and to have no contact with the pregnant woman he is accused of hitting.
“Anybody who gets arrested, it’s never a happy experience,” Walton’s attorney Michael Gottlieb said after the hearing. “He’s looking forward to getting out and moving forward with his life.”
Davie police released the 911 call Wednesday. On the recording, you can hear a woman crying and saying, “My boyfriend beat me up. He just left but I think he’s coming back.”
The upset woman told the 911 operator she was beaten 10 to 15 minutes before she called 911 and she added, “his friend was here.”
Walton’s time with the Miami Dolphins came to an end Tuesday after he was accused of punching the woman, who is five weeks pregnant with his child. She and Walton also have a 2-year-old daughter, who the woman says was at the residence when she called 911.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores said, Wednesday, releasing Walton was a difficult decision.
“It’s an unfortunate situation. We felt like we had to make the move to release. That’s what it is," he said. "But it’s an unfortunate situation and you never want to see anything like that happen. Tough.”
The Dolphins released Walton, the embattled former University of Miami running back, after he was arrested by Davie police at 4:15 a.m. on Tuesday. Police say he pushed the woman against a wall and punched her several times in the face and head, causing swelling on her left eye.
“He feels badly that he’s been arrested. He feels badly that he is having a situation with the mother of his child,” Gottlieb said. “Again, Mr. Walton denies striking her so there’s nothing technically for him to be remorseful for.”
Walton was made aware of the pregnancy two days prior to his arrest (his fourth this year), according to the police report.
Walton is charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, which is a second-degree felony that could result in up to 15 years in prison in Florida.
“We were made aware of a police matter earlier this morning regarding Mark Walton. We hold our players to a high standard and take these matters very seriously. We will have no further comment at this time,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said in a statement Tuesday.
Despite the off-field issues earlier this year, the Dolphins signed Walton shortly after a tryout in May and saw him turn into a capable starting NFL running back, who accounted for 53 carries and 201 yards rushing in seven games this season.
He was elevated to Miami’s starting running back job in Week 6, and started four games before being disciplined with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s conduct and substance abuse policies that stemmed from three separate arrests earlier this year.
“I think as an organization, [general manager] Chris [Grier], [vice president of football administration] Brandon [Shore], character is something we spend a lot of time on," said Flores Wednesday. "In this case, it didn’t work out with Mark. But it’s case by case. I think that’s the thought process for us as a staff and organization.”
Walton had his sentence of six months’ probation on Aug. 19 reduced to three weeks for his incidents that occurred January, February and March.
Walton was facing a felony charge for carrying a concealed weapon he owned, and misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession, reckless driving, and resisting a police officer without violence following a March 12 incident in Miami. He was able to get those charges reduced in court.
Walton was also charged with misdemeanor battery for a fight that involved him taking a phone from a neighbor at his Brickell condo in February and faced a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge for a January arrest. Both of those charges were dismissed.
“I want to apologize to the Miami Dolphins, the fans, my friends and family and I take full responsibility for my action,” Walton said in a statement after his suspension. “I want to thank the Dolphins for giving me this opportunity and will make the most of this chance as a person and player when I return.”
Walton was suspended on Nov. 4 and allowed to attend meetings at the Miami Dolphins practice facility during his suspension. He would have been eligible to return in Week 14 when the Dolphins visit the New York Jets on Dec. 8.
The Dolphins, however, decided to move on from Walton after his latest incident.
“I think anybody who gets released at a time like this is going to be disappointed,” Gottlieb said. “Obviously the Dolphins have a code of conduct and they believe that this violated it and we respect that.”
Walton attended Booker T. Washington High School in Miami before finishing his Hurricanes career with 2,006 yards and 28 total touchdowns in three seasons from 2015-17. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft and released by the team earlier this year.
Walton — whose daughter, Ma’Lani Nicole, was born in February 2017 — has dealt with significant losses in his family over the years. His mother, Kimberly Rogers, died following a stroke in March 2017 during his final season at UM. He also suffered the losses of his father, grandmother and older brother earlier in his life.
Staff photographer Joe Cavaretta contributed to this report.