Woman suing Chicago Bears player after alleged assault at Charlotte hotel

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte woman is suing a Chicago Bears player, the team and an off-duty Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer after an alleged assault at a Charlotte hotel.

In the lawsuit, Joann Blakney claims Bears player Mario Edwards Jr. assaulted her in a hotel room while she was pregnant.

Blakney said she has known Edwards for 10 years, according to the suit. They had dated on and off for several years before breaking up in 2019.

In October 2020, Edwards was in Charlotte for a game against the Carolina Panthers. During that time, Edwards reached out to Blakney and asked her to meet him at his hotel, according to the lawsuit.

During her visit that evening, Blakney said Edwards assaulted her when she refused to have sexual intercourse with him, the suit said.

After the assault, Blakney said she approached an off-duty CMPD officer in the hotel’s lobby to report it, but the lawsuit said the officer didn’t call police and instead alerted members of the Bears staff who were also at the hotel.

Several Bears staff members tried to talk with Blakney, saying they wanted to resolve the incident, according to the lawsuit. Blakney said one staff member asked her if she wanted money, the suit said.

Blakney did later report the incident to police, who arrived at the hotel a few hours later. According to the lawsuit, Blakney said Edwards told a CMPD officer that she was a prostitute, which she said was false.

Later that night, Blakney was taken to a hospital since she was pregnant and concerned her baby was hurt in the assault, the lawsuit said.

Edwards has pending assault charges in Mecklenburg County, according the suit. Blakney said she also has assault charges against her that were made on Edwards’ behalf. She said she lost her job and has not been able to find employment due to the charge, according to the lawsuit.

The suit said Edwards signed a new three-year contract for more than $11 million, with a pending assault on a female charge.

Channel 9 has reached out to CMPD to see if that officer is still with the department and for updates on the investigation. We have not heard back at this point.

No other details have been released at this point.

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