Bengals player Mackensie Alexander arrested on battery charge after returning to Immokalee to search for missing father
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mackensie Alexander was jailed Wednesday on a charge of misdemeanor battery after deputies say he beat up a man shortly after returning to Florida to help search for his missing father.
Alexander, 26, and another man, 28-year-old Eveins Clement, were arrested by Collier County sheriff’s deputies Tuesday night, not long after Alexander arrived back in Southwest Florida where he grew up and his family still lives in the small farming community of Immokalee. Alexander was being held without bond Wednesday pending an afternoon court hearing.
Alexander had left Bengals training camp earlier Tuesday to assist the search for his 65-year-old father, Jean Alexandre, a Haitian immigrant who uses a French spelling of the family’s surname. Investigators say another man told them he and Alexandre drove about 80 miles to pick palmetto berries in Okeechobee County on Monday. The man, whose name has not been released, told deputies he had left Alexandre behind.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that they are searching for Alexandre but referred all other questions to Collier County.
According to Alexander’s arrest report, he and Clement had gone to the home of the man he’s accused of assaulting “to discuss a previous incident.” Collier sheriff’s officials declined to say if the previous incident is Alexandre’s disappearance or if the victim is the man last known to be with him.
The report says Alexander tried to convince the man to go with them, but he refused, saying he was scared of retaliation. The man told deputies that Alexander then threatened to get a gun from his car. When he still refused to go with them, the victim said Clement grabbed him and Alexander began punching him in the face.
The two fled when they heard sirens approaching but were arrested a short time later.
No attorneys are listed on court records for Alexander or Clement. Deputies said the victim suffered a cut lip and forehead.
“We recognize that this is an emotional and frightening time for the family and friends of Jean Odney Alexandre. However, everyone must act within the law,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Michelle Batten said in a statement.
“Of course they’re upset. The dad is missing…but it wasn’t my dad’s fault,” said Mowendy Etienne. He says his father is the one Alexander and another man beat up.
Etienne’s dad was the last one seen with Jean Alexandre in Okeechobee County Monday.
“The story is my dad left him behind and that’s not what happened,” he said. “When they go back to finish picking the berries, Mackensie’s dad wasn’t showing up. They couldn’t find him…When you’re young and you’re very passionate about your family, you can’t really think and I’m sure he was definitely upset.”
In 2016, ESPN made a documentary about Alexander and his family, “Gift from the Groves,” about his life growing up in Immokalee. His parents worked as pickers in the orange, squash and pepper fields for $300 a week combined. When Alexander and his twin brother, Mackenro, turned 10, they also began picking oranges on weekends.
Alexander starred at Immokalee High School, then headed to Clemson, where he starred for two seasons. Selected in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Vikings, Alexander had an up-and-down four seasons with Minnesota, primarily as the No. 3 cornerback, or the nickel position.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer did not hold back criticism of Alexander in his early years, but during training camp last season, Zimmer said Alexander had “turned the corner as far as coaching and believing in the system” as well as anyone on the team. Alexander had two interceptions over 55 regular season games with the Vikings.
He signed with the Bengals as a free agent during this past offseason.
Rodelin Anthony coached Alexander at Immokalee High School. He says he can see the worry in the eyes of the Bengals player’s mugshot.
“I can’t blame the kid for reacting the way he reacted,” he said. “He’s a passionate child. He always has been. I mean, it’s the reason he is where he is — his passion. He was just directed in the opposite direction.”
The other man arrested with Alexander faces a battery charge as well. The family of the victim says the two men deserve penalties but hope Alexander’s father is found safe.
As of around 6 p.m. Wednesday, deputies say they’re still searching the grounds where Alexander’s dad was last seen.
Anyone with information on Jean Odney Alexandre’s whereabouts is asked to call the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office at (863) 763-3117.