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In the wake of domestic violence allegations against 27-year-old Peruvian midfielder Andy Polo, the Portland Timbers have terminated his contract and issued an apology for their handling of the incident.
“We deeply regret not suspending Polo immediately, especially considering the troubling new details of abuse that surfaced this week,” the club said in a Thursday afternoon release. “It was a failure on our part, and one that will never happen again.”
According to public records obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive, Polo was released from arrest by Washington County Sheriff’s deputy Adam Weishaar and cited for harassment — offensive physical contact, a class B misdemeanor. He allegedly grabbed ex-wife Génessis Alarcón’s wrist during an argument, leaving behind an abrasion on her wrist that was observed by deputy Weishaar.
The police report states that at 10:20 a.m. on May 23, 2021, a friend of Alarcón’s told 911 dispatchers that Alarcón’s husband was hitting her. When law enforcement arrived at the scene, Polo answered the door wearing a full immobilization cast on his leg, which, unbeknownst to deputies, was the result of an injury he sustained in a match against the LA Galaxy the previous day.
“Genesis (sic) seemed to be frantic, scared and stressed,” Weishaar’s report says. “She was quickly walking around going in and out of the upstairs bedrooms gathering items of clothing. (Names redacted) greeted me at the top of the stairs, the expressions on their faces appeared as if they were worried, scared and on the verge of tears. When I looked down the hallway from the staircase, I could see that the master bedroom door was halfway open, but something was blocking it as if it was barricaded prior.
“Genesis (sic) said Andy and she had been arguing for the past two days. She told me today she was home in the kitchen cleaning when Andy came home. She said Andy wanted to take her cellphone back because he wanted to take back everything he has ever given her. She told him she did not have it. She said during the argument Andy reached out and grabbed her right wrist and scratched it. She showed me the underside of her right wrist and I saw what appeared to be a light red abrasion.”
Weishaar then listened to an audio recording of the alleged incident, the police report said, during which he observed the sounds of pots and pans banging, a couple arguing and children screaming and crying. A Spanish-language interpreter told Weishaar over the phone that the woman in the audio was saying “stop following, don’t grab, let me go, let me go.”
Later in his report, Weishaar confirmed an allegation made by Alarcón in a recent Peruvian television interview that Timbers staff members arrived at the scene after the alleged incident. Gabriel Jaimes, manager of player affairs for the club, was first to arrive and told Weishaar that the Timbers’ head of security was on his way.
“He asked if I could wait and speak with him which I did,” Weishaar wrote. “Shortly after (Jaimes) had asked me to wait, Jim McCausland, Director of Security, arrived on scene. I spoke with him outside and he told me he would make sure that peace would be maintained inside the house. He said if he needed to move Andy or Genesis (sic) out of the home to maintain safety and security, he would take care of it. He assured me no further incidents would take place.”
McCausland is a retired Portland police detective.
Because of Polo’s injury and the fact that Alarcón had a safety plan in place, Weishaar chose to cite and release Polo with the misdemeanor charge of harassment rather than make an arrest. Jaimes was present for the issuing of the citation and helped translate Weishaar’s words from English to Spanish.
That citation was not pursued by Alarcón or the Washington County prosecutor’s office.
The incident became public on Tuesday, when Alarcón revealed additional allegations in an appearance on Peruvian talk show “Magaly TV La Firme.” During the interview, Alarcón claimed that Polo has pulled her hair, slapped her, given her a black eye, and has previously been violent with her children. She also said he had stopped paying child support.
During the show, she revealed photos of the abuse allegedly taken after an incident.
A source with knowledge of the Timbers’ involvement in the incident said the club was only aware of what happened on May 23 at Polo’s residence in Beaverton. The club did not learn about the rest of Alarcón’s accusations until her television appearance.
Major League Soccer suspended Polo indefinitely on Wednesday, saying the league and club would investigate Alarcón’s allegations. The Timbers terminated Polo Thursday.
The Timbers’ involvement in the May 23 incident was not made public until early Thursday morning, when Spanish-speaking journalist Niko Moreno, based out of Seattle, translated Alarcón’s interview to English and created a thread on Twitter.
“When I called 911, he called someone from the team, and that person from the team did arrive but because I didn’t speak English, I was upstairs while that person from the team, the policeman and Andy were talking downstairs,” Alarcón said in Spanish, translated by Moreno. “The policeman would come up, speaking with an interpreter on the phone, and that’s how he talked to me. Later, the head of the team’s security, of Portland Timbers, got there and he asked what I wanted to do, whether I wanted him (Polo) to leave the home or If I wanted to go.”
Alarcón said during her television appearance that she told the Timbers’ staff member Polo should leave their residence because she feared for her and her children’s safety.
When asked by the Peruvian television host if Alarcón thought the Timbers were “taking care of everything” to protect Polo and deescalate the alleged incident, she said yes, but added that she felt the Timbers were now “acting clueless.”
“But they knew from the beginning,” Alarcón said in Spanish, translated by Moreno.
Polo responded to Alarcón’s television interview and her allegations in a statement provided to Peruvian journalist Nick Negrini.
“The allegations are unfounded and are part of a strategy from the mother of my children to demand 60% of my earnings as a soccer player in the United States,” Polo said in Spanish. “It’s important to reiterate that the television show did not try to contact me in order to, at a minimum, corroborate the facts by asking me about my version of the story, irreparably affecting my image and name.”
Polo played four seasons with the Timbers, tallying five goals and two assists in 62 appearances. He underwent surgery last May to repair a right ruptured quadriceps muscle and torn meniscus and was sidelined the rest of the 2021 season, missing the Timbers’ surge to the MLS Cup.
His injury occurred as a result of a hard tackle by LA Galaxy defender Derrick Williams, who was issued a red card and later suspended six games for the dirty play.
The alleged May 23 domestic violence incident occurred the day after Polo suffered his season-ending injury.
Joe Freeman of The Oregonian/OregonLive contributed to this report.
-- Ryan Clarke, email@example.com
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