Ravens rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was arrested and charged with destruction of property and being drunk in public over the weekend, according to Williamsburg, Va., police Major Greg Riley.
Both are misdemeanor charges. The fourth-round draft pick from Coastal Carolina was arrested and charged early Saturday morning in his hometown, where he attended Bruton High School
"We're aware of the situation and have discussed it with Lorenzo," Ravens director of public relations Chad Steele said. "He will have his due process and the opportunity to talk about what happened."
This incident makes Taliaferro the latest Ravens player to get into trouble with the law.
He's the fourth Ravens player to be arrested this offseason, following running back Ray Rice (felony aggravated assault, Atlantic City, N.J.), wide receiver Deonte Thompson (felony possession of marijuana, Gainesville, Fla.) and offensive lineman Jah Reid (misdemeanor battery, Key West, Fla.). Rice was accepted into a pretrial diversion program. Thompson had his case dismissed. Reid's case is pending.
Although the charges against Taliaferro aren't expected to involve jail time, he's being counted on as an insurance policy early in the season in case Rice is suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell under the league's personal-conduct policy. Plus, backup running back Bernard Pierce is coming off rotator cuff surgery in January and is out until training camp. So, the timing of this arrest is poor.
Named the Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Year last season when he rushed for 1,729 yards and 29 touchdowns, Taliaferro was drafted after the Ravens finished 30th in rushing last season.
Riley said in a telephone interview that Taliaferro was arrested without incident and was treated for minor hand cuts.
"He did suffer some minor cuts," Riley said. "That was cleaned up at the scene by a medic and he didn't go to a hospital."
Taliaferro, who recently signed a four-year, $2.52 million contract that includes a $300,584 signing bonus, has been assigned a June 3 court date at 8:30 a.m. at Williamsburg/James City General District Court.
According to a police report, the arresting officer overheard loud cursing from a group at roughly 1:15 a.m. Saturday morning. The officer wrote in his report that he observed Taliaferro as part of the group.
The cab driver told the officer that Taliaferro broke a window in his car, alleging that Taliaferro grabbed the passenger window and pulled it outward as he drove away after asking Taliaferro to exit the cab.
Police said Taliaferro had left the area before being located nearby and then was arrested.
According to the police report, Taliaferro was handcuffed and the officer "immediately detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage upon his person and breath. Mr. Taliaferro was unsteady on his feet, had bloodshot eyes and spoke with a slur. Mr. Taliaferro also sounded intoxicated because he stated that his 'girlfriend flew in from Myrtle Beach, Virginia" and later said 'cooloperate' instead of cooperate twice in an attempt to correct himself."
Taliaferro and his friends told the officer they wanted to be 'responsible' and take a cab, but complained that the driver was "rude and on his phone," according to the report.
"Mr. Taliaferro advised that he and the driver then had a brief dispute," the report stated. "So, Mr. Taliaferro exited the taxi with his friends. Before the taxi left, Mr. Taliaferro leaned against the window. Mr. Taliaferro stated that the taxi pulled forward and that the weight of him being on the glass broke it. At the jail, Mr. Taliaferro stated that he had 'gripped the window' and that he had 'consumed a good amount of drinks.'"