Video shows Joey Porter grabbing wrists of police officer

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Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter avoided felony charges last month when the local prosecutor decided that the evidence didn’t support a conclusion that Porter “attempt[ed] by physical menace to put [a police officer] while in the performance of duty, in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.”

With the entire case now resolved via a glorified parking ticket (i.e., a $300 citation), the video of Porter’s altercation outside of a Pittsburgh club has emerged. Posted at Deadspin, the video shows Porter arguing with a man who was keeping Porter out of the club. The officer eventually arrives, asking aloud what’s going on (and gesturing in a way that reminded me of Joe Pesci), generally being ignored, and finally intervening when Porter grabs the man blocking the door and pulls him away from it.

At that point, the officer gets in front of Porter and pushes him away, into the side of a nearby parked car. The officer tries to restrain Porter by putting a hand in his chest. Porter plainly can be seen — at least three times — grabbing the officer by a wrist and pulling his hand away.

Clearly and indisputably, Porter put his hands on a police officer, multiple times. When Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala dropped the aggravated assault charge, he declined to release the video, claiming that it was still evidence as to the remaining charges of disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

“Joey, I think, enjoys and revels in the reputation he had as a hard-nosed player, but he really took it hard about the notion that he was violent, disrespectful of law enforcement, excessively drunk, those kinds of things, because the charges suggested those,” Porter’s attorney, Robert DelGreco Jr., said at the time, via WTAE.com.

The president of the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge 1 suggested that something fishy was going on.

“I find it incredible that charges were reduced prior to a preliminary hearing taking place,” Bob Swartzwelder said. “I hope every other criminal defendant is given such expedient treatment, or is there something more to this case? If an individual put his hand on a police officer, the charges should stand.”

The Pittsburgh Police Citizen Review Board later concluded that Porter grabbed the officer by the wrists, rendering him defenseless. While defenselessness is a subjective assessment, it’s not an unreasonable conclusion given the size difference and the reality that Porter’s conduct easily could be regarded as “physical menace” that put the officer “in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.”

Putting his hands on the officer — something no one should ever do unless being beaten or otherwise brutalized — crosses a line that arguably should have prompted the prosecutor to allow an impartial jury to decide whether Porter ran afoul of a law that essentially prohibits people who find themselves in the middle of a hostile disagreement treating a police officer like anyone else who happens to find himself in the middle of the scrum. The fact that Porter didn’t stand trial invites speculation that he received the benefit of the doubt that comes from playing for (and now coaching) the locally-beloved NFL team.

41 responses to “Video shows Joey Porter grabbing wrists of police officer

  1. @Florio

    Hypothetical, from a legal perspective; if a similar case comes down the pipe later, now that the video is released and clearly showing the altercation, could this persecutor’s decision be used to overturn a similar case for someone who isn’t famous?

  2. The police trump up charges constantly. One of the many things that erode their respect and credibility with the people they’re supposed to “protect and serve”.

  3. Grabbing a person’s wrist is NOT aggravated assault. The charges should have been dropped, they were completely bogus in the first place.

    Nobody talks about the history of the cop involved and how many cases of brutality and misconduct he’s been involved in. If you watch the video, he did grab his wrist, but let go after about 5 seconds. Also if you watch the video William Gay and someone else is standing between Joey Porter and the cop, so there was NO threat of severe bodily harm.

  4. I don’t think this is balanced. I respect the police, and understand how dangerous their job can be.

    And I agree Porter was getting pushy. Did he deserve to have a bunch of guys, with a cop at the centre of the group, pushing him backwards onto someone else’s car? All he did was move the cop’s hand off his chest, while that hand was pushing him backwards against a car, while surrounded by a mob holding him back.

    Not a great look, but not something that should be incurring criminal charges IMHO. There is no way that cop takes the stand and testifies that he felt like he was in serious and imminent danger.

    I’d suggest we change the terminology from “grabbing a cop’s wrist” to “removing the officer’s hand from his chest”.

  5. Idiot, you do not touch a police officer.

    Hey idiot you don’t cheat either.

    Porter needs a filter and the judge should have given him a harder slap on the wrist to get his attention. No one got hurt but trolls sensibilities which don’t amount to much.

  6. Shocking, Pittsburgh police finding a way for charges to disappear that involve a Steeler. Didn’t Ben’s charges along with evidence disappear and a Pittsburgh cop lose his job over the alleged rape of a college girl in a club bathroom?

  7. rooneys continue to cheat

    doctoring injury reports

    threatening local and georgia police or paying them off to
    cover for felonies by their own employees

    disgusting

    i have no idea how the media glosses over it

  8. Porter is and absolute d-wad and a loud-mouthed’ violent buffoon that really contributes very little to the team other than cheerleading and wasn’t needed on the sidelines for Pittsburgh that week.

    So why did the Steelers step in and have the charges dropped? Because they can- pure and simple arrogance.

  9. First of all, the DA should be investigated for his constant favoritism.
    Like take his free seats away.
    This is the typical squealer mentality in that low class city.
    Keep up the good work.

  10. i have no idea how the media glosses over it

    It’s because it’s not true despite what the voices in your head tell you.

    peytonwantsaflag, you calling out Porter is ironic….Pacman and Burfict ring a bell?

  11. Porter’s a jerk. I think we all know that and can agree. That said, this video doesn’t show a crime being committed. Police can’t just push people around who haven’t committed a crime and they shouldn’t be pushing people around except as a last resort even if they have. Unless Porter’s get-your-hand-off-me gesture was accompanied by a verbal threat, that officer was in zero danger and appears to have been the aggressor.

  12. How do you trespass anyone from a public sidewalk?
    ——
    loi·ter
    ˈloidər/
    verb
    stand or wait around idly or without apparent purpose.

    You can’t have people blocking a business entrance. You can’t have beggars chasing customers away. or a fight that can also scare off paying customers.

  13. Nofoolnodrool says:
    Feb 23, 2017 11:45 AM
    Idiot, you do not touch a police officer.

    Hey idiot you don’t cheat either.

    I know, so why wasn’t Bell listed on the injury report?

    Is it just me or is the MO out in Western PA to always blame the cop, the victim or any Patriot fans in the vicinity?

  14. can anyone honestly looking at this video say that there was an altercation? if you still say yes than obviously you do not know the type of power pro ball players have. If Porter were being aggressive, he would not have been the one getting shoved back into a parked car. and without any facts of the matter, what right did the cop have to shove Porter in the first place? you have rights people, use them–no officer has a right to put their hands on you.

  15. “diot, you do not touch a police officer.

    Hey idiot you don’t cheat either.

    Porter needs a filter and the judge should have given him a harder slap on the wrist to get his attention. No one got hurt but trolls sensibilities which don’t amount to much.”

    ———————————————————————
    Looks like buttercup needs a safe space. Deflect much?

  16. If they didn’t care about rape in a bathroom what’s grabbing an officers wrist going to do? This is Pittsburgh we’re talking about.

  17. Having the clout to influence the police and the fools at 345 Park Ave. to clear the team and it’s players and coaches has worked out well for the team. This is a team that gets it’s butt handed to it on a regular basis by an organization that demands accountability and responsibility everyday. Things are going downhill in the NFC North.

  18. People are over-prosecuted for assaulting police, even when constrained with boots on the neck and being told to stop resisting while being beaten. And police officers are under charged and not even convicted when captured on video shooting guys in the back. I hate to generalize but I think if you can show discretion in one direction, you can in the other. If he punched a cop or stomped him that’s a lot different than grabbing wrists. Yeah, not touching at all is the best way to go, but regular guys are rarely charged with anything for something so minor. I’m not a fan of protected classes of victims who get preferential treatment and deference, and I extend that to government agents.

  19. IsMyNoseRed? says:
    Feb 23, 2017 12:17 PM
    “If Kraft had Rooney’s pull, Aaron Hernandez would still be playing in the NFL.”

    No, your nose is brown… or perhaps red from the alcoholism that made you think that these two specific situations could possibly be ever close to similar?

    I don’t comment much, but that’s literally the stupidest remark that I’ve read in a long time. Let’s compare multiple convicted murders to a situation in which no one at all was hurt. Threatened? Perhaps; I don’t know, and I wasn’t there.

    But you’re right- Rooney could’ve made taking lives (among other almost equally reprehensible things) just go away… smh

  20. Watched the video, it shows nothing of the sorts. Looks like Porter was pleading his case to get into a bar, and a cop comes up from behind him and tries to grab him. Porter, not knowing who it is, pushing the hand away. After seeing it is a cop, Porter backs off and moves from the door.

    Guy shouldn’t be going to a bar as an NFL coach with the AFC Championship game looming, but this story was severely embellished.

  21. joe6606 says:
    Feb 23, 2017 1:44 PM
    That cop did nothing but inflame the situation. I’d have popped him in the face

    ====================
    You’re such a tough guy sitting behind your keyboard eating a bacon sammich.

  22. Joey Porter is a repeat violent instigator who deserves to have the book thrown at him. Too bad Pittsburgh is so corrupt that it covers up what is clearly an intentional assault on a peace officer. Porter should have been thrown out of the NFL last year for picking fights on the field.

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