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UB basketball player accused of intimidation, trying to strangle woman

A 20-year-old University at Buffalo basketball player tried to strangle a female acquaintance earlier this week in the City of Tonawanda and later was charged with witness intimidation, authorities said.

Quate J. McKinzie has been indefinitely suspended from the UB Bulls men's basketball team. He appeared in Tonawanda City Court on Friday for further proceedings after an incident Tuesday. He also was accused of making threatening phone calls from the Erie County Holding Center to the woman.

The original charges placed against the UB sophomore were second-degree strangulation, a D-felony; misdemeanor counts of criminal obstruction of breathing, assault, menacing, harassment; and stealing the victim's vehicle.

The latest charges are third-degree witness intimidation and first-degree criminal contempt, both E-felonies; and two misdemeanors, aggravated harassment and disobeying a court mandate, according to Tonawanda Police Patrol Capt. Fredric Foels.

The assistant district attorney recommended that McKinzie be remanded back to the holding center without bail in light of newest charges, Foels said. Bail previously was set at $15,000, which McKinzie was unable to post.

Tonawanda City Court Judge Dean Lilac accepted the prosecutor's recommendation of no bail, but defense attorney Cheryl Meyers-Buth, who is representing McKinzie, informed the court she planned to seek a bail hearing later Friday.

John Della Contrada, UB's associate vice president for media relations, issued this statement in response to queries about McKinzie's status on the basketball team:

"University Athletics is aware of the alleged incident and is in communication with university and local authorities. Quate McKinzie is currently enrolled at the University at Buffalo and is suspended indefinitely from the university’s basketball team.

"Due to the ongoing investigation and federal protections on student information, we will have no further comment on the matter at this time."

According to information on the Bulls' basketball website, McKinzie is 6-foot, 8-inches, 195 pounds and played basketball for Harrells Christian Academy in Burgaw, N.C., before coming to UB, where he plays forward. He has not decided on a major.

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