Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Police: Pacers' backup center threw punch, too
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Police have determined that a fourth member of the Pacers, reserve center David Harrison, was involved in the brawl at last Friday night's Indiana-Detroit game.
Police Lt. James Manning said footage of the fight shows it was Harrison who punched John Ackerman, 67, in the stands. Ackerman claimed in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that it was Jermaine O'Neal who
ESPN provided the NBA with footage from the broadcast, and the
league issued a statement saying it decided not to suspend Harrison
because of the circumstances in the exit area at the time the
players were attempting to leave the floor. Harrison, however, was
shown in video footage throwing a punch in the stands as he and
other players headed toward the locker room.
Todd Weglarz, one of the attorneys representing Ackerman, said
he had not seen the videotape purportedly showing Harrison
attacking his client, but was considering filing a subpoena to
obtain a copy. He said there were no plans to drop O'Neal as a
O'Neal has been suspended for 25 games for his role in the
brawl, Stephen Jackson for 30, and Ron Artest, who was the first to
bound into the stands and begin punching fans, for the rest of the
season. Police have not been able to talk to any of the Pacers,
The fight among spectators and players broke out near the end of
Friday's game after an on-court dispute over a foul. A fan hurled a
drink at Artest, who then charged into the stands and began beating
a man he thought had done it.
The man attacked by Artest, Mike Ryan, of Clarkston, has
retained a lawyer, but has not decided yet whether to sue. Other
people hurt in the fight have filed suits against the Pacers,
individual players and The Palace.
"Artest attacked him and wrongfully so," Ryan's lawyer, Todd
Flood, said Wednesday. "My client was truly an innocent victim."
Manning said Crimestoppers has offered a reward of up to $1,000
for information on the fight and the man who threw a chair that
struck several people. The Pistons also have offered $1,000 reward,
team spokesman Matt Dobek said.
Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca has said players and
fans could be charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. The
only possible felony charge currently under consideration would be
against the chair-thrower.
The investigation could take two to three weeks. Investigators
planned to continue reviewing videotapes and interviewing witnesses
before issuing charges.