Wednesday , Dec , 08 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Players and fans expected to face charges in brawl

Detroit, MI (Sports Network) – Five members of the Indiana Pacers and five
Detroit Pistons fans are expected to be charged Wednesday in the November 19
brawl that took place at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

According to The Detroit News, players Jermaine O’Neal, Ron Artest, David
Harrison, Anthony Johnson and Stephen Jackson are expected to face charges.

O’Neal is likely to be charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault and
battery, while the other four players are expected to face one count of
assault and battery. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail
and a fine of up to $500.

The fight involving spectators and players broke out near the end of the game
after an on-court dispute over a foul. The contest was stopped with 45 seconds
left in the fourth quarter and Indiana was credited with a 97-82 victory.

With the Pacers ahead by 15 points, things unraveled when Ben Wallace was
fouled by Artest and the Pistons’ center took exception to what he deemed a
hard foul and gave Artest a two-handed push to the face.

After that, the pushing and shoving continued by the scorers’ table as
players came off both benches. The Detroit fans then lost control and began
throwing cups filled with liquid and ice at Artest, who was surprisingly
staying out of harm’s way on top of the scorers’ table. Artest was hit in
the head with a flying cup and immediately raced into the stands and started
punching whom he thought was the culprit.

Jackson followed into the crowd, along with several other players, and started
swinging away at the unruly fans.

Meanwhile, John Green, the season ticket holder accused of throwing the cup at
Artest that sparked the melee, is expected to be charged with two counts of
misdemeanor assault and battery.

Bryant Jackson, the fan accused of throwing a chair into the crowd, is
expected to be charged with one count of misdemeanor assault and battery and
one count of felony assault.

David Wallace, the brother of the Pistons’ Ben Wallace, is expected to be
charged with one count of misdemeanor assault and battery, as are two other
fans, who have not yet been publicly identified.

Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca wouldn’t confirm or deny the reports
or mention what charges he is pursuing. He has scheduled a 2 p.m. (et) press
conference with Auburn Hills police.

On Monday, police turned over the findings to Gorcyca, who last week announced
that he would charge players and fans involved in the brawl.

Two days after the disgraceful incident, NBA commissioner David Stern issued
harsh penalties. He suspended Artest for the remainder of the season, while
Jackson got a 30-game suspension and O’Neal 25 games. Ben Wallace received six
games and Johnson got suspended for five. Four players were also suspended for
one game each — Indiana’s Reggie Miller and Detroit’s Chauncey Billups, Elden
Campbell and Derrick Coleman.