Chris Henry and the Spectre of Domestic Abuse (with An Update)

UPDATE: This definitely went by me. While Chris Henry wasn’t necessarily known publicly for domestic abuse, his lover and fiancée who drove the F-150 truck was. From

A source close to the situation has exclusively told Bossip that Henry’s fiancée, Loleini Tonga has a history of domestic violence and a severe drinking problem. The source states, “I knew the next time Chris would get in trouble it would be because of that girl. She drinks all the time, they get into fights, and she has even bragged about getting into disputes with former boyfriends.”

I agree, there are some women who love to scrap with boyfriends and husbands.  But these women are few and far between.  Chris Henry didn’t appear that heavy.  Wide receivers don’t really have to bulk up all that much; they are built for speed.  Henry was strong and tall, but wiry.

I wish I had been a fly on the wall to hear what was said that set them both off.  Henry was on medical leave from the Bengals with a broken arm that had a pin in it.  Somehow, with a great leap, he got on that truck.  Imagine the will that it took for Henry to do that.  The same kind of will that it took to catch pivotal plays.

Just what was he going to do with Loleini if he got her to stop the truck by suasion or force?




Chris Henry, Loleini Tonga, and their three children in happier days (Courtesy: USA Today)

Chris Henry was turning his life around, huh? Too late to take this back now. Either Henry jumped off or was thrown off the truck. No wonder the cops don’t have answers or they would be putting his woman in the slam.

In the last conscious moments of Chris Henry’s life, the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver begged the woman who has been credited for helping turn his life around to stop so they could talk or he would kill himself, a witness said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) police verified that a domestic dispute jump-started the turn of events that led to fatal injuries Henry sustained after falling from a moving pickup Wednesday. Henry, who had a troubled past, was on medical leave visiting with his fiancée Loleini Tonga’s family when the fight began Wednesday afternoon.

They were to be wed in March.

Henry, 26, tried to chase down his woman during the last fight, and when she went off in her F-150 truck after he implored her to stay, he managed to climb onto the back. He was pounding on the rear window and yelling; I have a feeling he was thinking that he could get her to stop and they would conclude whatever disagreement they were having. There were also reports that Henry was threatening to kill himself while on the truck. This wasn’t the movies, and there wasn’t a stunt performer. Henry went off the truck and landed hard–on his head. That’s when Loleini stopped the truck. He died from massive head trauma, the autopsy revealed Friday.

And according to TMZ, the fight may have been predicated on the high costs of the wedding run up by Loleini, 25. He had already made a scene at the wedding photographer’s. The Bengals controlled the money of the cash-strapped football pro; the team was determined to help him back to financial solvency, so the preparations may have been too much for Henry to consider. Previously, he had burned up all his money, nearly $1.75 million, mostly in legal fees and settlements.

This makes me think of an episode last year on Oprah in which she had several couples on the show who were having or had had high-priced weddings. Some who had already had these weddings then had to deal with the crushing debts. The debts nearly sent these new couples into divorce court or bankruptcy. Husbands were appalled at their wives’ spending; they thought that saw things eye to eye financially, but without too much discussion.

Of course, this happened before the Great Recession hit, but having big impressive weddings these days can also be a financial drain when what was needed was a reality check, counseling and a brake on the spending. The shrinks on the show were essentially saying, concentrate on the marriage to come, and not the wedding. Come to a reasonable consensus about can be achieved with the wedding, which is nothing but a great big show that happens only once. And Henry and Loleini already had three children to think about.

Loleini on her My Space page had already boasted about the rings she had bought. That she had fifteen bridesmaids and four matrons of honor. But the couple may not have owned their own home.

It occurs to me whether Chris Henry even had a will to provide for his children in case of an early demise. Those pretty baby boys. SMH.

As the family prepares for his funeral next week, it’s not yet known whether Tonga — the mother of two of Henry’s children — will face charges. Police have not yet cleared her name.

[Police spokesperson] Harrington said there was “no new info” in the case on Friday.

“I know people will say, ‘Why didn’t she stop?'” said the friend, Lori Williams, a teacher at West Charlotte High School. “We don’t know … but in the times that I knew Loleini — and I knew Loleini — she would not harm anyone.”

Greg Guthrie, general manager of the Alario Center in Westwego, La., confirmed Friday that a service for Henry, a native of Belle Chasse, La., is tentatively scheduled to be held there Tuesday.

The Bengals are expected to attend as a team after playing in San Diego against the Chargers on Sunday.

They’re also wearing his number 15 on their helmets today as they face the San Diego Chargers.

Chris Henry had had problems. He had a volatile temper. He had brushes with the law from gun possession, to drunk driving, to contributing to the delinquency of minors, to substance abuse, to assaulting people. This last one, which resulted in a second arrest in 2008, got him waived from the Bengals. And yet, Loleini is credited with turning his life around. Many Pacific Islander people are into building family, and they are a beautiful people. She had had two little boys for him. Perhaps it was high time for him to grow up.

Well, no person can turn their lives around unless they really, really want to. Another woman or a man has nothing to do with it. They can only offer encouragement and love, on her but sometimes, it’s a crutch. The other person cannot be responsible for everything. At the same time, there was a payback for all this emotional support. I’m sure there were financial pluses involved for Loleini to maintain their relationship. Chris Henry, unfortunately, kept doing anti-social stuff through their relationship until just recently. What isn’t said in these news reports is whether he had ever put his hands on her.

It doesn’t look like it.  It is evident, though, that they quarreled bitterly.  Quarreling and domestic abuse are two different things.

When police initially questioned Tonga at the scene, there were no marks or bruises or signs on her that she had been physically mistreated by her fiancé.  The couple were at her parents’ home before they rushed out.  If the parents were present, there would be no way the father or her brothers and other family living next door would have allowed abusive behavior from him.  The Tongas lived in a kind of compound of several houses on the same street, in an extended family situation that black folks can recognize and even appreciate, but is just as recognizable in the islands.

There are conflicting stories whether Henry will be memorialized in Westwego or Gretna. Both are suburbs of New Orleans.  Gretna and Westwego are in Jefferson Parish and are near Belle Chasse, where Henry first earned gridiron glory in high school.  At any rate, the team is chartering a jet to attend the funeral in his honor Tuesday.

As for the Tonga and Henry families, no response has been forthcoming to the press.  No doubt, everyone is in a state of shock; it will be sometime before there is a response from either side of the family. It’s very sad. Measured against the wedding rings, a wedding planner, fifteen bridesmaids’ outfits and an official photographer, etc., the death of the prospective groom is a heavy price to pay for a wedding.

~ by blksista on December 20, 2009.

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