Jazz center Al Jefferson's girlfriend charged with assaulting him

Published: Friday, Dec. 9 2011 4:16 p.m. MST

Al Jefferson talks with members of the media before the game as members of the Utah Jazz and other NBA players play Monday, Nov. 7, 2011 at Salt Lake Community College's Bruin arena in Taylorsville, Utah, for charity.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — The live-in girlfriend of Utah Jazz player Al Jefferson was charged Friday with hitting and biting him.

Shirley Lewis, 38, was arrested about 8:30 p.m. Thursday after she called police from the couple's home near 8000 South and Highland Drive, Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Mark Askerlund said. Police determined that it was a domestic violence incident and that Lewis was the aggressor.

Friday morning, Lewis was charged in Holladay Justice Court with assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child, both class B misdemeanors.

Lewis "was in a verbal argument with her live-in boyfriend, Al Jefferson, when she hit him and bit him on the back," a Salt Lake County Jail report states.

Askerlund said two children, ages 3 and 9, were home at the time of the incident and were "visibly upset." Still, both Jefferson and Lewis were cooperative with police.

"There was no problem getting information from either party," Askerlund said.

Jefferson did not want to talk about the charges during Jazz Media Day Friday. "That's a personal matter. "I don't want to discuss it," he said. "I'm here to talk about basketball."

The injuries to the Jazz player, which police said were consistent with both Jefferson and Lewis' version of events, did not require treatment.

"It was just abrasions, those types of things," Askerlund said. "There were no serious injuries, but it was an assault."

Askerlund said it did not appear that alcohol played a factor in the altercation, but he did not know what sparked the argument. He said the couple has been dating for several years.

Lewis was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Thursday night and was later released. An arraignment on the charges was scheduled Friday morning, but Lewis did not attend. Court officials said Lewis may not have known about the appearance and they rescheduled the hearing for Jan. 18.

Jefferson, 26, joined the Utah Jazz in 2010 following a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 280-pound, 6-foot-10-inch center is originally from Mississippi.

Jazz President Randy Rigby said he did not want to comment on the incident.

"We're leaving that for Al and his girlfriend," Rigby said. "We're about building a basketball team."

Linda Luchetti, senior vice president of communications for the Jazz, said basketball is the only topic on which the team will ask players to comment.

"Because it's a personal situation, it's not something that the player is required to speak to at media availability or through the Jazz," she said. "We wouldn't request that the player speak to the media about it because it’s a personal family situation."

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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