Police say Arkansas' Heisman runner-up was agitated, needed to calm down

Updated: January 10, 2008, 8:35 PM ET
Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden was handcuffed by police and then released without charges after being involved in a "pretty rowdy scene" at a piano bar early Thursday.

He wasn't the one that was fighting. It was his little brother-- someone had jumped on him. He was agitated because his brother had a bloody nose.

-- Mini Muhammad, McFadden's mother

Arkansas' All-American running back and at least four others were at the downtown bar when a disturbance broke out shortly after midnight, police Lt. Terry Hastings said. A bouncer was hit in the face as he was trying to get the group to leave, Hastings said. A police report did not specify who hit the bouncer.

"There was a whole bunch of people there," Hastings said. "They were inside and it spilled out into the street."

Outside, McFadden was handcuffed by a police officer "because he was agitated and was provoking aggressive behavior inciting the incident," according to the police report.

"We handcuffed him for a few minutes because he was rowdy," Hastings said.

McFadden, who was the only person handcuffed, was released after he calmed down. Hastings said it was routine procedure to handcuff a person to gain control of a situation.

On Thursday night before an appearance at the Little Rock Touchdown Club, where he was to be honored with an award, McFadden declined comment, through a university spokesman.

McFadden's mother, Mini Muhammad, said her son was trying to protect his younger brother, Daryl.

"He wasn't the one that was fighting. It was his little brother -- someone had jumped on him," Muhammad said. "He was agitated because his brother had a bloody nose."

"Darren was not fighting -- please make that be known," she added.

Hastings said bar employee Brant Hankins was advised that he could pursue charges against the person who hit him. The police report classified the incident as misdemeanor battery.

In the summer of 2006 in a fight outside another Little Rock club, McFadden severely injured his toe, but recovered in time to play in the Razorbacks' season opener.

McFadden, who also finished second in the 2006 Heisman voting, holds Arkansas' career and single-season rushing records. The junior has yet to decide whether he will forgo his senior year and enter the NFL draft.

The disturbance will be investigated by state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents once the ABC office receives the police report, said agency director Carl Kirkland.

Ernie Biggs is a private club that serves alcohol but not food. State law does not allow a private club to admit anyone under 21 if the business does not serve food.

The Little Rock bar also allows smoking, and state law allows smoking in only certain establishments, but does not allow those businesses to admit anyone under 21.

Ed Barham, a spokesman for the state Health Department, which enforces the smoking ban, said the agency will look into the disturbance after hearing about it through the media. He said if it appears the club violated the law, the agency will refer the matter to the state Board of Health.

There was no response to a message left on an answering machine at the club Thursday afternoon.

Hankins said Thursday he had no comment on the incident or on McFadden's involvement.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press