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Charger accused in Tila incident

San Diego Chargers star outside linebacker Shawne Merriman was arrestedSunday and accused of choking and restraining his girlfriend, realityTV star Tila Tequila.

San Diego Chargers star outside linebacker Shawne Merriman was arrested Sunday and accused of choking and restraining his girlfriend, reality TV star Tila Tequila, as she tried to leave his suburban home.

Tequila, 27, signed a citizen’s arrest warrant, charging Merriman with battery and false imprisonment, San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. Gary Steadman said. Both are felonies.

Deputies responded about 3:45 a.m. to Merriman’s house in Poway, north of San Diego, after a woman called to say she was choked by the player and thrown to the ground when she tried to leave, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jan Caldwell said at a news conference.

Merriman’s lawyer, Todd Macaluso, disputed Tequila’s story and said he’s confident Merriman won’t be charged by the District Attorney’s Office.

“There was absolutely no wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Merriman,’’ Macaluso told The Associated Press by phone. “He essentially was doing what was appropriate under the circumstances in trying to protect the safety of Miss Tequila. There were numerous eyewitnesses that will support his version of the events that transpired at his home.’’

Merriman, 25, also said in a statement late Sunday that he was worried for the safety of Tila Tequila because she appeared to be intoxicated and he didn’t want her to drive.

He says paramedics who were called to his home reported no injuries to Tequila.

Merriman was taken into custody and booked into the central jail at about 8:30 a.m. He was released shortly after 11 a.m.

Tequila was taken to a hospital. Her condition was not immediately available.

Caldwell said deputies determined Tequila had been drinking. Caldwell said she wasn’t sure if Merriman had been drinking. Macaluso said witnesses he spoke with said Merriman had ordered water three or four times when his group was at a downtown San Diego club before going to his house.

Tequila, whose real name is Tila Nguyen, is best known for A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, which ran for two seasons on MTV.

 
 
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