A judge ruled that Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon not guilty of an aggravated menacing charge stemming from an alleged road rage incident earlier this year.
“The standard of reasonable doubt is the highest standard that we have in our justice system, as it should be,” Hamilton County judge Gwen Bender said prior to handing down the ruling.
The decision comes a month after Mixon agreed to a reduced salary in order to stay with the Bengals for the upcoming season.
“After a careful of all of the evidence presented at trial, including the stipulations and the testimony presented today, I cannot say the city sustained its burden.”
The state alleged Mixon pulled a gun following a road rage incident and told a woman that he should shoot her in the face.
However, Bender said Cincinnati prosecutors had not produced sufficient evidence to prove the aggravated menacing charge. The incident allegedly happened in late January, shortly before the Bengals were set to play the Buffalo Bills in a playoff game.
Mixon’s attorney argued that the woman involved in the alleged traffic dispute had not been under the impression that the Bengals running back would cause her serious harm. Under Ohio law, an individual must believe they are at risk for serious harm in order to claim an act of aggravated menacing occurred.
Mixon did not make any statements after the verdict was announced, but the Bengals released a statement saying the team was happy to see the matter had been resolved.
“The organization is pleased that this matter is now behind everyone,” the Bengals said in a statement, “and we look forward to an exciting season with Joe being an important part of the football team.”
Mixon has spent his entire NFL career with the Bengals. He appeared in 14 games during the 2022 campaign and finished the season with 814 yards and scored seven rushing touchdowns. A concussion sidelined him for two games last season.
Mixon had arguably his best season in 2021, rushing for a career-best 1,205 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns.