Players may face assault and battery charges

Updated: December 1, 2004, 1:19 AM ET
Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Indiana Pacers players will be charged for fighting with fans during the Nov. 19 brawl at the end of a game against the Detroit Pistons, Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca told The Detroit News.

"Whoever was involved in fisticuffs will be charged, regardless if they were wearing a jersey. It's obvious there were several Pacer players and fans that dealt blows," Gorcyca said, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

The prosecutor declined to say which players would be charged or what the charges might be.

Auburn Hills police Lt. James Manning told the newspaper that he expects four members of the Pacers to face assault and battery charges.

Manning said at a news conference Monday that a lawyer for the Pacers told detectives that none of the players would agree to be interviewed by police. Prosecutors could get the police report by the beginning of next week, Manning said.

The fight between spectators and players broke out near the end of the game after an on-court dispute over a foul. A fan hurled a drink at Pacers forward Ron Artest, who charged into the stands, followed by teammates.

Artest was suspended without pay for the rest of the season by the NBA; Stephen Jackson was suspended for 30 games, Jermaine O'Neal for 25. The players' union appealed those punishments.

Police determined that a fourth member of the Pacers, reserve center David Harrison, was involved in the brawl, too, but the NBA didn't suspend him.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press