UPDATED: 3:58 p.m. ET, Jan. 21 — The Prince George’s County Police Department has reportedly opened an internal investigation into one of its officers that recorded video of an incoherent Delonte West sitting shirtless and handcuffed on the side of a road after a separate video showed him getting beaten and stomped by an unidentified man on a street.
NBC Washington’s reporter Cory Smith made the announcement via a tweet that also reported that the PG Police was also investigating how and why the footage of the former NBA player who has battled mental illness was made public by being posted to social media.
The news came hours after the troubling footage emerged on Sunday.
Delonte West, who played 10 seasons in the NBA for four teams as well as stints overseas, was purportedly shown in the video getting beaten up by an unidentified man and talking incoherently in or near Washington, D.C. The video footage first surfaced on social media on Sunday.
That scene was followed by more footage that showed a person who sure looked like West sitting on a curb while handcuffed without a shirt on and speaking in unintelligible terms that resembled a manic episode. A voice can be heard questioning him — presumably a police officer — though it was not immediately clear who was doing the asking. It was also unclear who was filming the episode and why it was being filmed.
For those who know about West’s struggles with bipolar disorder, the new footage may not be as surprising. But many p[eople on social media who said they were familiar with West, 36, and his basketball career were still taken aback after seeing the videos.
At one point in his career, West was one of the best college basketball players before at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia before being drafted into the NBA and enjoying a career as a reliable backup guard for some top teams. He showed steady improvement his first three seasons before taking a step backward when he got traded, ultimately admitting he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder during the 2008 preseason, according to the Washington Post.
One year later West was pulled over for speeding on his motorcycle when cops found three loaded guns on him, including a rifle in a guitar case slung over his back.
In 2015 told Post that he had tried to kill himself “all the time” since being a teenager in his native Prince George’s County, Maryland, saying in part that the “ugly head” of “self-destructive behavior” has been “haunting me my whole life.”
That same year he was pictured with his wife and their young child in seemingly happier times.
The very next year, West appeared in a series of photos posted to social media showing him appearing to have hit rock bottom.
Considering all of the above, and much more that was not documented here, a lot of people sounded off on social media wondering if the NBA and those who have called West a teammate have attempted to intervene and help out their brother in basketball.
The National Basketball Retired Players Association has a mission statement on its website that says in part it “serves former professional basketball players, supporting them in life after their playing days.”
West also played alongside LeBron James in Cleveland for three seasons, prompting many people to wonder if the most popular player in the NBA ever tried to intervene. That answer may be a bit more complicated considering the unproven yet persistent rumor that West had a sexual relationship with James’ mother while they were teammates in Cleveland.
Either way, assuming the man in the video was West, he clearly needs some help. And with such wealthy and powerful former coworkers and coaches, it would be a travesty if nothing was done by the aforementioned after this latest apparent episode of a manic mental illness episode from the former professional basketball player.