Former 'A Shot at Love' star Tila Tequila alleged choked by NFL star
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/07/2009
Tila Tequila has accused her boyfriend of physically assaulting her after she attempted to leave his home over the weekend.
The former A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila star -- whose real name is Tila Nguyen -- signed a citizen's arrest warrant and accused her boyfriend of choking her and refusing to let her leave his house, The Associated Press reported Sunday.
Tequila's boyfriend -- NFL star Shawne Merriman -- was subsequently arrested and charged with battery and false imprisonment, both of which are felonies.
The incident occurred around 3:45AM early Sunday morning when deputies responded to Merriman's Poway, CA house after a woman called to say she was choked by the San Diego Chargers linebacker and thrown to the ground by him when she tried to leave, according to The AP.
Tequila was taken to the hospital and her condition was not immediately available, while Merriman was taken into custody, booked and released shortly thereafter. His attorney claims he is confident the NFL star won't be charged by the District Attorney's Office.
"There was absolutely no wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Merriman," attorney Todd Macaluso told The AP.
"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."
In addition, Sheriff's Department spokesman Jan Caldwell said authorities have determined that Tequila had been drinking prior to the incident. Macaluso declined to comment directly on whether or not Merriman was attempting to prevent Tequila from driving drunk.
"We don't want to comment on her conduct," Macaluso told The AP. "The bottom line is, he did everything in his power to ensure her safety. He hopes she comes forth and tells the truth."
Tequila's attorney, Scott E. Leemon, said in a statement that they would not be commenting publicly on the incident, according to The AP.
Both Merriman and Tequila had been talking in recent months via Twitter, according to The AP, which added Tequila was in attendance at Friday night's Chargers pre-season game and subsequently attended a party in downtown San Diego.
"Im the Head Cheerleader Prom Queen and (at)shawnemerriman is the Prom King! hahaha! LETS GOOO! LIGHTS OUT! SAN DIEGO I WILL SEE U TOMORROW!" wrote Tequila in a Thursday Twitter post.
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The Chargers will not return to practice until Monday.
"It's disappointing to hear about the issue involving Shawne Merriman," Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said in statement, according to The AP. "We'll continue to monitor the situation and let the legal process run its course."
A Shot at Love's second season aired early last year and ended with Tequila selecting Kristy Morgan only to have Morgan reject the offer because she said she's "unsure about [her] experience with women" and was trying to be "honest" and "true to [her] feelings."
Tequila ultimately decided against doing a third season of the series because she felt the show didn't "fully represent" who she is "as a regular person."
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.
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.
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. The bisexual dating show featured men and women vying for Tequila's affections. She has also modeled for Playboy and other men's magazines.