Medina Police arrest Minnesota Timberwolf for 2nd time

Cunningham suspected of violating protection order

Dante Cunningham
Dante Cunningham

Medina Police at 11:45 a.m. Sunday, April 6, arrested Minnesota Timberwolf Dante Cunningham for the second time in four days — this time on a possible violation of an order for protection. The order was issued after his first arrest on April 3 for alleged felony domestic assault by strangulation.

After the second arrest, Cunningham was taken to Hennepin County Jail, where he was held without bail. On Monday afternoon he was charged in Hennepin County Court with making terroristic threats. Bail was set at $150,000. By the end of the afteroon bail was posted, and he was released from jail.

Medina Police described the second incident in an April 7 news release. They said that on April 6, a Medina Police officer at 3:08 a.m. responded to report of a possible violation of an order for protection. Police went to a home in the 400 block of Medina Road.

“It was reported that the victim was receiving threatening messages from Mr. Cunningham, which would be a violation,” police said. “When the officer arrived and reviewed the messages, the threats were direct and rose to a terroristic level.”

According to Minnesota law, a terroristic threat charge applies in situations were someone directly or indirectly threatens to commit violence for the purpose of terrorizing someone else.

Cunningham was contacted and agreed to turn himself in, police said. At 11:45 a.m. he was taken into custody in Minneapolis “without incident.” He turned over his cellphone and computers to investigators.

As of Monday morning, April 7, police were continuing to investigate the source of electronic messages sent to the victim’s cellphone, according to Medina Police Chief Ed Belland.

Cunningham was arrested by Medina Police for the first time on Thursday, April 3, at his home on Medina Road in Medina. On Saturday the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged him with felony domestic assault by strangulation. He was released on $40,000 bond and ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim.

That evening he played 33 minutes for the Timberwolves in their road loss to the Orlando Magic. He scored 12 points and bagged six rebounds. He is in the final season of a three-year, $6.3 million contract with the Timberwolves.

Cunningham, 26, made his first court appearance April 7 in relation to the domestic assault charge. After being released on bail, he played 15 minutes in Tuesday night’s Wolves victory over the San Antonio Spurs — contributing five points and five assists.

According to the criminal complaint relating to the first arrest, Medina Police responded to a report of a domestic assault from a residence in the 400 block of Medina Road at 4:01 a.m. Thursday, April 3. When officers met with an adult female, they noticed that she had redness and marks on the left side of her neck.

She told police that she has been in a romantic relationship with Cunningham since last summer, according to the complaint. They have lived in the same residence for the past eight months. Recently, they have been having problems with their relationship. That morning, they had an argument and he left. The victim locked the bedroom door behind him.

When Cunningham returned, he kicked in the bedroom door, grabbed the victim around the neck and slammed her against the wall, according to the complaint. He strangled her for approximately 15 to 20 seconds, during which she could not breath. Her eyes were watering and she felt like she was being strangled to death. He dropped her and left. Then she called 911. Cunningham returned home while police officers were present, and they arrested him.

Police Chief Belland said his department has offered the victim information about resources that would help her keep herself safe. Police made this offer after both of Cunningham’s arrests. Following up with a resource would be up to the victim.

On Sunday, April 6, the Minnesota Timberwolves released a statement that said, “The situation with Dante Cunningham is very fluid and we continue to monitor all available information. We reiterate that the Minnesota Timberwolves do not condone the behavior described in the accusations. We continue to wait for the legal process to run its course and will have further comment when appropriate.”

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at [email protected]