Monday, November 23, 2009
Police investigating claim of assault
SAN DIEGO -- Police are investigating a claim that San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie hit someone in the head with a champagne bottle at a bar shortly after the team returned from a victory in Denver.
Detective Gary Hassen said officers answered a report of a fight at Bar West in Pacific Beach shortly before 1:30 a.m. Monday.
Cromartie is under investigation for assault with a deadly weapon, Hassen said.
Hassen said a witness claimed Cromartie threw a champagne bottle but the player said it slipped from his hand.
A man sustained a cut to the back of his head but nobody was hospitalized or arrested.
Cromartie, who had an interception in the Chargers' 32-3 victory, wasn't in the locker room Monday when it was open to reporters.
He posted this on his Twitter account:
"I want to apologize to charger nation and my fans. There's sum stuff out abt me that's not true. It will come out. God Bless."
In a statement, Bar West representatives said "many" Chargers were celebrating their victory at the establishment.
"There was a minor incident involving a few of our VIP guests when champagne was being sprayed back and forth between a few tables in a celebratory manner," the statement said. "SDPD interviewed all parties and witnesses, no positive identification could be made as there were conflicting accounts of the chain of events and persons involved."
The City Attorney's Office hadn't received the case as of late Monday afternoon, spokeswoman Gina Coburn said.
General manager A.J. Smith didn't return a call seeking comment.
"We're aware of the story and are going through the process of gathering information," the team said in a statement.
Cromartie's agent Gary Wichard said his client is innocent.
"Cro's fine. I'm not worried," Wichard said. "It'll be taken care of. He hasn't done anything."
Chargers linebacker Stephen Cooper said he was with Cromartie at the bar. "Nothing happened," Cooper said, denying any knowledge of wrongdoing.
Left tackle Marcus McNeill said he believed Cromartie's story.
"Honestly, if you hit somebody over the head with a bottle, you're going to jail," McNeill said.
Coach Norv Turner talked to Chargers players after the report first showed up on TMZ.com
McNeill kiddingly blamed the media. "We're the hottest thing going on right now in Southern Cal," McNeill said. "TMZ is waiting for you. They'll probably pull me over at the light for speeding or something."
The Chargers have won five straight games to take control of the AFC West at 7-3, one game ahead of the staggering Broncos.