Joe Mandak, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter was charged yesterday with assaulting a doorman at a Pittsburgh bar and a police officer who intervened, hours after the team’s wild card win over the Miami Dolphins.
The incident happened at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, following the Steelers’ 30-12 victory over the Dolphins in the opening round of the NFL playoffs.
According to a criminal complaint, officer Paul Abel was working security at another nearby bar when he was told by an off-duty officer that the doorman at The Flats on Carson Street was being threatened by a Pittsburgh Steeler.
Abel said he arrived to find the doorman refusing to let Porter — who appeared to be intoxicated — into the club.
Abel, who filed the complaint, said Porter ignored him when he asked what was going on and grabbed the doorman by the arms and lifted him off the ground. The doorman wasn’t aggressive with Porter and had his hands in his pockets, according to the complaint.
Abel said he pulled Porter away from the doorman, according to the complaint. That’s when Porter grabbed the officer’s wrists “so tightly that I could not pull them away from him, no matter how hard I tried,” the officers said in the complaint.
Porter backed away, but then refused to put his hands behind his back.
Porter eventually allowed himself to be handcuffed but yelled, “You’re lying, I never touched you,” as Abel arrested him, the complaint said.
Porter was charged with aggravated assault for his alleged contact with the officer, simple assault on the doorman, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, defiant trespass and public drunkenness. Physical contact with a police officer is automatically charged as aggravated assault in Pennsylvania, even if — in this case — the nature of the alleged conduct would constitute simple assault against a regular citizen.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for Porter, who posted USD25,000 bond and faces a preliminary hearing on Jan. 19 in Pittsburgh City Court.
The Steelers said in a statement that they were aware of the incident and were gathering additional information.
Porter, the Steelers’ outside linebackers coach, spent 13 seasons as a linebacker with Pittsburgh, Miami and Arizona.
The Steelers face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the divisional round of the playoffs. AP