Forget due process, evidence, rights — domestic-violence accusers are almost always believed.
A startling report last week by the AP’s Jon Krawczynski sheds needed light on the harrowing story of Dante Cunningham, a victim of a false domestic-violence accusation and a baseless restraining order.
Last season, Cunningham was a forward playing for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, completing his second year with the team. A tall (6′8″), willowy man with a kind face and a broad smile, Cunningham was raised in a military family in Maryland, where he developed the work ethic and grounded nature that helped propel his successful basketball career. As a college student at Villanova, he was the team’s top scorer. He was then drafted into the NBA, where he played for five years and led a relatively quiet life — a dog lover who was well liked by the fans for his cheerful disposition and generosity.
But Cunningham’s life changed in an instant one night in April when his girlfriend, a single mother he’d been dating for months, accused the 26-year-old NBA player of domestic violence. As Krawczynski reports:
It was after 4 a.m. when Dante Cunningham pulled his truck back into the driveway of his suburban Minneapolis home and saw the police waiting for him.
Officers put the handcuffs on the Minnesota Timberwolves’ reserve as soon as his feet hit the pavement. The reality of his situation and the domestic assault charges that were on their way didn’t really sink in until he was lying in a jail cell and the lights went out.
“The whole time I was like, ‘I’m OK. I’m out of here. Things will be fine,’” Cunningham recalled. “Then it went dark and I was like, ‘This is not a joke. I’m really in this.’”
The woman claimed Cunningham had kicked down a locked bedroom door, pushed her against the wall, and choked her. He strenuously denied the charges, stating that the only time he touched her was on her wrist, when he tried to get her to stop hanging onto his vehicle as he drove away from their residence to cool down following an argument.