Whitner charged after altercation

Updated: April 13, 2009, 8:56 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CLEVELAND -- Buffalo Bills defensive back Donte Whitner was formally charged Monday with aggravated disorderly conduct and resisting arrest resulting from an altercation at a Cleveland nightclub early Saturday.

Police used a stun gun on the 23-year-old Whitner outside the House of Blues and then handcuffed him after he forced his way past them. Whitner was taken to jail and released later pending formal charges.

Cleveland police spokesman Thomas Stacho confirmed the charges on Monday and said Whitner is being sent a summons. He said a court date has been set for April 28 for Whitner's initial appearance.

Whitner, a Cleveland native, was attending a birthday party for his Glenville High teammate Ted Ginn Jr., a receiver for the Miami Dolphins.

A statement from the Cleveland Police Department alleged a brawl erupted outside the club at about 3 a.m. As off-duty officers tried to restore order, Whitner aggressively forced his way into an area where he was told not to go. Officers temporarily restrained him before he broke free and squared off to fight.

"Whitner began swinging his arms in a violent manner and, when restrained by officers, he broke free and took a fighting stance," the Cleveland Police statement read. "An officer then deployed his Taser on Whitner, debilitating him enough that officers were able to place him in handcuffs."

Whitner said he regrets the incident.

"It's not how I wish to conduct myself, and I apologize to all those involved," he said in a statement released through agent Neil Cornrich. On Monday, Cornrich had no comment on the charges.

This isn't the first time Whitner has been in trouble with the law. In 2006, he was arrested for noncriminal harassment of his live-in girlfriend in suburban Buffalo.

Whitner's arrest is the latest in a troubling sequence of offseason events for the Bills.

Three days ago, Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch received a three-game suspension for two transgressions in a nine-month span. He was the driver in a hit-and-run incident last summer in Buffalo but escaped with a traffic ticket.

Lynch's latest incident was a Feb. 11 arrest in Culver City, Calif. He was charged with carrying a concealed, loaded and unregistered 9 mm handgun. He pleaded guilty to one of the misdemeanor charges in exchange for having the other two dropped. He was sentenced to three years' probation and 80 hours of community service.

Safety Ko Simpson was arrested for disorderly conduct at 2 a.m. ET on New Year's Day outside a bar in his hometown of Rock Hill, S.C.

Police were in the process of arresting two of Simpson's friends for disorderly conduct, while he kept yelling, "I'm Ko Simpson with the Buffalo Bills. I am worth millions!'' Police claim they asked Simpson to leave the scene several times, but he kept screaming.

"You don't like any issues that happen in our business to our players in particular," Bills coach Dick Jauron said March 24 at the NFL owners meeting in Dana Point, Calif., referring to Lynch and Simpson. "It's hard because you certainly don't condone anything that happened.

"You also know that young men make errors in judgment. So you have to help them correct it and learn from it and mature from it and hope people don't destroy their lives by some silly mistake. You hope they limit their mistakes to ones that don't hurt other people badly and determine their lives."

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Tim Graham was used in this report.

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