Raymond Felton, the New York Knicks point guard, was arraigned on two felony gun possession charges after turning himself in early Tuesday, police said.
The arrest of Felton, who has struggled this season on the court, came hours after the Knicks lost at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. Felton played five seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats and was a star on the North Carolina 2005 NCAA Championship team.
Around tipoff at Madison Square Garden, police said, a divorce lawyer for Felton’s wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton, turned in the gun at a Manhattan police station, saying the firearm belonged to Felton. Raymondo-Felton came in for questioning about two hours later – during Felton’s 8-point, 7-assist game against the Dallas Mavericks – and gave her statement to detectives at the precinct, police said.
Police described the gun as an FN Herstal, a Belgian weapon, and said it was loaded when it was turned in. Felton’s wife told police that the gun was being kept in their apartment in Manhattan.
Calls to lawyers representing Felton and Raymondo-Felton were not immediately returned.
According to a law enforcement official, Raymondo-Felton, in her initial statement, told police that Felton had threatened her with the firearm. But it was not immediately clear when any threats she described took place. The official said the couple were in the process of divorcing.
Felton turned himself in at the same station house at 12:50 a.m., police said, and was charged with second-, third- and fourth-degree counts of weapons possession. Felton, 29, did not make any statements to detectives at the station house, police said.
Felton did not enter a plea Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court where he was charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and criminal possession of a firearm. The firearm charge is punishable by up to four years in prison. The weapons charge is punishable by up to seven years in prison. The section under which he was charged concerns having a large-capacity ammunition magazine.
He was released on $25,000 bail, and a judge ordered him not to have contact with his wife.
New York has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. In Felton’s case, prosecutors must establish that the weapon was illegally possessed by Felton, said Eric Michael Arnone, a defense lawyer and former Manhattan prosecutor who has no direct knowledge of the Felton case. Prosecutors are likely to rely on statements by Felton’s estranged wife and whatever other evidence they can find to establish that the gun belonged to him.
On Friday, when the team was in Florida to face the Orlando Magic, Felton was asked about his wife’s filing for divorce.
“Yeah, that’s my personal life; I don’t discuss that,” he said. “I mean, it’s your life. When you’re going through certain things in life, it’s on your mind no matter what. You try not to let it come into your mind, your workplace, but sometimes it does. You’re human, and it’s part of life.”
A Knicks spokesman said the team had no comment.