FORT LEE, N.J. -- Mets All-Star closer Jeurys Familia pleaded not guilty Thursday to a domestic violence charge related to an alleged altercation between Familia and the mother of his child, CBS New York reports.
The alleged incident took place around 2:20 a.m. on Oct. 31 at an apartment on Park Avenue in Fort Lee, police said.
According to a criminal complaint, police said Familia caused “bodily injury to another” and that responding officers saw a scratch on the chest and bruise on the right cheek of the victim.
The 27-year-old pitcher was charged with simple assault. He was released on $1,500 bail and was ordered to have no contact with the victim.
Upon the request of the child’s mother, the order prohibiting Familia from contacting her has been lifted, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“So that will be removed, however the condition of ‘no possession of firearms’ remains, and I’m adding one - ‘no further acts of domestic violence,’” the judge said.
In a short, seven-minute hearing, the judge laid out specifics on why the state will move forward with the case even though the alleged victim refused to press charges.
“In the state of New Jersey under our domestic violence, even if the victim does not wish to proceed with the charges, the victim can say ‘I do not wish to be here,’ to leave the country and not wish to be here for the trial, the state, the prosecutor with the officers involved, can proceed under our domestic violence laws,” the judge said.
Familia did not comment on the case Thursday.
Familia was one of several New York sports figures who appear in the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s new “#NotAFan” campaign sponsored by Mark-Viverito. In one public service announcement video, Familia said in Spanish: “I am a fan of baseball. I am a fan of the Mets. I am not a fan of domestic violence.”
All of the ads involving Familia have been pulled.
Major League Baseball has suspended four players for violating their new domestic violence policy, including Mets’ teammate Jose Reyes who was suspended for 52 games.
Familia is coming off an All-Star season with the Mets, in which he recorded an MLB-leading 51 saves. But he also gave up the game-winning home run in the Mets’ wild-card game loss to the San Francisco Giants.
The New York Mets organization said they are aware of the charges, but it was not immediately clear if any disciplinary action will be taken.
Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson attended the GM’s meeting in Arizona and said the Mets were extremely disappointed, CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported.
The MLB launched its own investigation but will not issue a ruling until after the court case concludes.
The judge has set the next hearing in the case for Dec. 15.
If convicted, his penalty could include jail time or even deportation, Overmyer reported.