Bird 'extremely disappointed' after Williams is arrested

Updated: September 11, 2007, 8:39 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers saw another player land in legal trouble on Tuesday with the arrest of forward Shawne Williams on marijuana possession and other charges.

Shawne Williams


Pacers president Larry Bird quickly declared that the team was "extremely disappointed" by Williams' arrest -- the third time in less than a year that players have made the police blotter for their off-court actions.

Williams, the Pacers' first-round draft pick last year from Memphis, was booked into the Marion County Jail early Tuesday on initial charges of possession of marijuana, driving without a license, driving with an expired license plate and failure to signal a lane change, police said.

Bird was not sympathetic toward Williams.

"Although the legal process needs to be followed, we will not accept Shawne putting himself in this position, regardless of innocence or guilt," Bird said in a statement. "This was clearly a bad and unacceptable decision. We will be meeting with Shawne at some point to discuss this and pursue any disciplinary action we can take."

Williams was released Tuesday afternoon and did not speak with reporters as he left the jail.

Telephone messages were left for Williams' agent, Bill McCandless, and for James Voyles, a prominent Indianapolis defense attorney who left the jail with Williams.

An initial hearing for Williams is scheduled for Friday in Marion Superior Court.

Williams was driving the SUV, which was carrying two other men, when it was pulled over for changing lanes without signaling about 12:45 a.m., said Sgt. Matthew Mount, a city police spokesman.

When Williams rolled down the driver's side window, the officer detected a strong odor of marijuana, Mount said. Another officer later found a smoldering cigar-sized marijuana cigarette in the vehicle's ash tray, he said.

Both Williams and the front seat passenger, Roosevelt Rollins, of Memphis, Tenn., were arrested on marijuana possession charges.

"The guy in the front passenger seat, Mr. Rollins, said the marijuana was his and Mr. Williams denied knowledge of the marijuana even being in his car even though you could obviously smell the odor of burnt marijuana," Mount said.

Mount said Williams had no driver's license and instead handed the officer a Tennessee identification card. He said the SUV's license plate had expired in July.

The SUV's back seat passenger was arrested on charges of carrying a gun without a license and theft, as the 9 mm handgun had been reported stolen in Collierville, Tenn., according to a police report.

The 6-foot-9 Williams averaged 3.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 46 games last season as a rookie for the Pacers.

The recent run of legal troubles for the Pacers started last Oct. 6 when Stephen Jackson and some teammates got into a fight with others at an Indianapolis strip club while out for the night during training camp.

Jackson, whom the Pacers traded to the Golden State Warriors in January, pleaded guilty in June to a felony charge for firing a gun into the air and was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service. He also has been suspended by the NBA for the first seven games of next season.

Pacers players Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels face pending charges stemming from a fight at an Indianapolis nightclub in February. Tinsley faces the most serious charge -- a felony count of intimidation.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press